Orphan Sunday, held on the second Sunday in November since 2015, falls on November 12 this year. From 2010 to 2014, it was celebrated on the first Sunday of November. Orphan Sunday began in a local church in Zambia and today, churches all over the world celebrate it and campaign for orphans. The observance also honors the tens of thousands of caregivers who assist with the care of these children.
History of Orphan Sunday
Orphan Sunday is a day set aside to recognize and raise awareness among the public, families, churches, and para-church advocacy groups about the plight of the world’s 153 million orphans. Unfortunately, the majority of these children are never adopted. They constitute the ‘Orphan Nation,’ the world’s 10th-largest country. Many churches and groups have held Orphan Sundays over the years to promote awareness about orphans in our communities, highlighting their issues and needs.
An American missionary to Africa, Gary Schneider, inspired the Christian Alliance to create a unique version of Orphan Sunday. Schneider was touched by the public response to a pastor’s appeal to care for the many orphans in a local community ravaged by hunger verging on starvation, poverty, and AIDS while witnessing a church service in Zambia.
Orphaned children were in a particularly awful predicament at the time, as they were frequently forced to fend for themselves. Many children’s lives were compromised as a result of this, as they had no means of earning enough money to attend school in the hopes of gaining an education and a suitable job in the future.
Even though many of the residents who attended the ceremony were impoverished themselves, several of them walked forward at the end of the service to show their support, a few even gifting their shoes and clothes to help the children.
Schneider was moved by this gesture of compassion and resolved to assist Zambian leaders in caring for Zambian orphans by spreading the news about this new practice, which spread like wildfire. This initiative reached the United States by 2003.
The Christian Alliance salutes Schneider’s visit to a Zambian church for the gift of Orphan Sunday and the inspiration it provided to people across the globe to care about orphans.
Orphan Sunday is commonly referred to as ‘Zambia’s gift to the world.’ The Christian Alliance now comprises upwards of 150 well-known ministries, and Orphan Sunday is observed by hundreds of churches in more than 50 countries across the world.
Orphan Sunday timeline
The Orphan Sunday initiative is born in a Zambian church.
The inaugural Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) Summit takes place with over 38 attendees.
The first Sunday in November is designated as Orphan Sunday.
The second Sunday in November becomes the new date for Orphan Sunday.
Orphan Sunday FAQs
Which region has the highest orphan rate?
Asia is home to the most orphaned children, with 71 million orphans. India alone has 31 million orphans. Africa comes in second with 59 million people.
Are there still orphanages?
Traditional orphanages are no longer popular, having been mainly supplanted by contemporary foster care, adoption, and child welfare systems.
What happens to kids who aren’t adopted?
Children who are not adopted are frequently moved between the group and foster homes until they reach the age of 18 to 21. Children with disabilities, such as learning problems, have a twice-as-high chance of aging out of the system. Many of these young adults will have to fend for themselves at this age.
How to Observe Orphan Sunday
Share the facts about the situation with your family, friends, and coworkers, to raise awareness. Assist in making this one-day advocacy event the start of something bigger. By supporting one of many active fundraisers, you may invite communities you're associated with to become a part of the solution.
By making a monthly donation, you can help orphan care partner homes and the children they serve go from surviving to thriving. With consistent contributions, no matter how little, you can make a significant impact.
Advocate for orphans
Advocating for orphans around the world is an important part of orphan care and an excellent way of finding families for these children. Advocacy entails disseminating information within your networks of influence about a particular child who can receive support.
5 Facts About Orphans That Will Blow Your Mind
High global numbers
About 80% of children living in orphanages around the world have one living parent.
A vulnerable demographic
Orphaned children are at a far higher risk of being victims of abuse, trafficking, and exploitation as they grow older.
Mental health issues, homelessness, and suicide are all more common among care leavers.
According to the U.S. State Department, 5,372 children from other countries were adopted by American families in 2016.
A steep curve
Orphanages can cost up to 10 times as much as raising a child in a family.
Why Orphan Sunday is Important
It provides support and new homes for orphans
Orphan Sunday aims to advocate for orphans across the globe, helping them find new homes and giving them the support they need to thrive. It is an important reminder of the crucial issues facing orphans in today’s society.
It encourages caregivers and nonprofits
Orphan Sunday also affords recognition to the relevant nonprofits and caregivers who play important roles in caring for orphans. Their efforts are recognized and appreciated as part of the observance.
It creates awareness and leaves an impact
This holiday creates a platform for discussion on issues affecting orphans around the world. Orphan Sunday helps raise awareness and influence policies to protect and care for orphans and vulnerable children.
Orphan Sunday dates