WORLD ORPHAN WEEK
World Orphan Week during the first week in March is a call to respond to the suffering of tens of millions of orphaned and abandoned children in the world today.
An orphan is a child who has lost one or both parents. UNICEF estimates that 153 million children worldwide are orphans. Orphaned children face a higher risk of social, economic, and health concerns. They are also at a higher risk of abuse and sexual violence. Some children may live with family members, in foster care, or are adopted, but many live on the streets.
Children may be orphaned for many reasons including:
- War or military conflict
- Natural disasters
The observance raises awareness of the needs of orphans. Orphans require all the same basic needs as other children: food, shelter, clothing, and love. They also have dreams and when those basic needs aren’t met, their opportunity to pursue those dreams withers. They face hardships that whittle away at their potential to be productive, contributing members of their culture and society. World Orphan Week aims to increase support for orphans through adoptions, foster care, and programs that not only meet their needs but put them on the path of fulfilling their aspirations.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldOrphanWeek
Take the week to educate yourself about orphanages, foster care, adoption, and other programs supporting orphans.
Download resources from the SOS Children’s Villages to get started. to get started.
Follow on Social Media with the hashtag #worldorphanweek #SOSChildrensvillages.
WORLD ORPHAN WEEK HISTORY
SOS Children’s Villages UK founded World Orphan Week in 2005, initially running in October, before moving to February. It became an official week to observe in the United States in 2008. It was observed annually until 2013 when it was set aside for a while. World Orphan Week was revived in 2018.
SOS Children’s Villages was founded in 1949 by a young Austrian medical student, Hermann Gmeiner, who witnessed the suffering of so many orphaned and abandoned children after World War II and felt that something had to be done to help them.