A child loses a parent every 2.2 seconds, and it is estimated that there are more than 132 million children worldwide who have been orphaned by disaster, disease or poverty, or abandoned on the streets by their parents.
World Orphan Week 2012 (6 – 12 February) is a week of awarness to highlight the issue of orphans and how we can all help. World Orphan Week began in the UK in 2005, as charity SOS Children looked to push this issue into the public arena. SOS Children are the world’s largest orphan and abandoned children’s charity, and their admirable vision is to provide “a loving home for every child”.
By taking part in World Orphan Week 2012, you can make a real difference to the lives of orphaned and abandoned children.
SOS Children have been providing a family for life for children who have lost their parents through conflict, famine, natural disaster, disease and poverty since 1949. Over 78,000 orphaned or abandoned children are cared for by SOS mothers in clusters of family homes in 518 unique Children’s Villages, in 125 countries around the world. A further million benefit from SOS Children’s outreach support which includes education, vocational training, medical care and community development programmes.
SOS Children give a moving account from Olga on her experiences:
“I’ve not had an easy life” says Olga, 33, whose upbringing in rural Belarus was marred by her parents’ alcohol addiction. After getting married life didn’t improve and her husband, who was also an alcoholic, died unexpectedly whilst in prison.
Soon after her husband’s death Olga’s father died of ill-health and a year later, her mother and brother were killed in a house fire. Distressed, and forced to care for three young children alone, Olga found it difficult to cope and found comfort in alcohol. Before long, she too was drinking heavily.
Alcohol dependency rates in Belarus are extremely high and according to official statistics, it is the main cause of early deaths in adults. But today, thanks to the support she has been receiving from the SOS Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) Olga is no longer an alcoholic. She has a steady job and although money is tight, her family is happy, “I’m much better now” she says.
The FSP here has been running since 2004 and helps 54 families, many of whom struggle with alcohol addictions and unemployment. The support the family are given helps them with every aspect of family life. Olga attends weekly parenting classes and they are given monthly food packages as well as access to a counsellor and legal advisor. And Olga’s children are flourishing. They receive extra school support and take part in extra-curricular activities as part of the FSP such as trips to museums and themes parks.
“SOS Children has made a huge difference to my life. I never want to lose their support.”
To register for a free fundraising pack for World Orphan Week 2012 email firstname.lastname@example.org