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MonJan 6

World Day of War Orphans – January 6, 2025

World Day of War Orphans on January 6 highlights the array of challenges these orphans face. Globally, millions of children are orphaned due to war, and they are subjected to a life of hardship, and emotional and physical neglect. This day was created by the French organization, SOS Enfants en Detresses to raise awareness about their suffering and to better their future. 

History of World Day of War Orphans

Losing a parent is very difficult, but losing a parent due to war is even worse. UNICEF defines an orphan as any child under the age of 18 who has lost one or both parents to any cause of death. 

In the wars that took place during the last few centuries, roughly half of the victims were civilians — a number that gradually increased until 2001. As of 2015, “there were nearly 140 million orphans globally, including 61 million in Asia, 52 million in Africa, 10 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 7.3 million in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” according to UNICEF.

Children who have lost their parents in untimely, harsh incidents like war are forced to stay with a surviving family member or they enter into the foster care system and face poor conditions like malnutrition and disease. The emotional and mental stress they endure is unimaginable. 

Orphan numbers are lower in developed countries but are much higher in places that have been subjected to wars and epidemics. Some children, however, lose their parents by getting separated from them during the chaos of war. 

World Day of War Orphans was created by SOS Enfants en Detresse, a French organization that works to bring a sense of normalcy to the lives of children affected indirectly by wars and conflict. It is held on January 6 annually, and every year, awareness programmes take place to give people a better understanding of the plight orphaned children are forced to face.

World Day of War Orphans timeline

400 A.D.
The First Orphanage

The Romans form their first orphanages with prescribed care for widows and support all orphans of those killed in military service until the age of eighteen.

The Foundling Hospital

The first charitable institution that caters to orphans, The Foundling Hospital, is founded.

The Rise of Foster Care

Thanks to the influence of Charles Loring Brace, foster care becomes a popular alternative to orphan asylums and almshouses.

The Orphan Spread

The Second World War leaves large numbers of orphans in many countries — with estimates for Europe ranging from 1,000,000 to 13,000,000.

World Day of War Orphans FAQs

What are war orphans?

A child who has lost both parents or, less commonly, one parent through civilian deaths in the war.

How many orphans are in the world?

According to UNICEF, an estimated 153 million children worldwide are orphans.

What is World Day of War Orphans?

World Day for War Orphans was created by SOS Enfants en Detresses and highlights the lives of the children who were affected by the outcomes of the war, aiming for the betterment of their future.

How To Observe World Day of War Orphans

  1. Visit an orphanage or IDP

    The best gift you can give to children who have lost everything is a sense of family, love, and any reason to smile. Your presence at your local orphanage or IDP will mean the world to these orphaned children. Visit one today, taking gifts, songs, games, or any activities with you, and bring some joy to their lives.

  2. Attend a program

    Every year, programs are held to promote this cause. Attending one could help expand your knowledge on the issue, as well as give you more insight into how you can lend your support. Find and attend a World Day for War Orphans program today.

  3. Make a donation

    A lot of organizations, orphanages, and IDPs require twice as much funding as they already have. Children are usually subject to poor treatment due to insufficient funds. Your donation, no matter how small, can go a long way to making the lives of orphaned children better.

5 Facts About Orphans You Should Know

  1. It takes only one parent’s death

    UNICEF defines ‘single orphans’ as children with only one parent that has died and globally, over 80% of children in orphanages have a living parent.

  2. They are vulnerable

    Children who grow up in orphanages face a higher risk of becoming victims of violence, trafficking, and exploitation.

  3. Orphanage expenses are very high

    It’s 10 times cheaper to care for a child in a family than at an orphanage.

  4. They are in the majority

    According to UNICEF, an estimated 150 million children worldwide are orphans.

  5. They are usually victims of civilian death

    With the number of civilian victims rising steadily in recent conflicts, child victims are at a high proportion.

Why World Day of War Orphans is Important

  1. It highlights the devastating effects of war

    While this day focuses on war orphans, it draws attention to all who have been affected by war. We gain a better understanding of how destructive war can be and the loss it brings.

  2. It’s a special day for orphans

    This day is particularly important for orphans, as it tells their devastating stories and shines a light on their needs. Our observance of this day brings them hope and lets them know their cries are being heard.

  3. Orphan lives matter

    World Day for War Orphans seeks to highlight the harsh conditions children left orphaned by war experience. It raises awareness about the poor conditions they are often forced to live in and urges us to take action in any way to improve their wellbeing.

World Day of War Orphans dates

2025January 6Monday
2026January 6Tuesday
2027January 6Wednesday
2028January 6Thursday
2029January 6Saturday

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