World Orphan Week, is celebrated in the first full week of March, and this year it will be held from March 5 to 11. This special week is observed to raise awareness for orphaned and abandoned children all over the world. Did you know that over 80% of children in orphanages, globally, have a living parent? Yes, in most cases, children are put in orphanages because their parents cannot afford to take care of them and so they abandon them. This day is all about changing the orphans’ stories and making a real difference in this world.
History of World Orphan Week
World Orphan Week is an international event that aims to highlight the issues faced by orphaned children and raise awareness and funds to help these poor souls. World Orphan Week was founded by an organization called SOS Children’s Villages in 2005. It is an international children’s charity that is dedicated to the care of children who have lost parental care.
SOS Children Villages organization was founded by an Austrian man named Hermann Gmeiner in 1949. Hermann was a medical student who couldn’t bear to see the sufferings and hardships of orphaned and abandoned children after World War II. He was motivated to do something to help the children and so created the SOS Children Village organization, the largest charity organization for orphaned children. SOS Children Village and its sister organizations in 125 countries work tirelessly across the globe to give abandoned children homes, families, and access to education and medical care.
Currently, there are around 153 million orphaned children worldwide, and many more children are living without basic amenities such as food, shelter, and clothes. World Orphan Week is an initiative that can shed light on these issues and share the facts to get people around the world involved in working for the welfare of children who are in need. Together, we can make a difference in the world!
World Orphan Week timeline
World War II leaves many children homeless and without parents.
Medic Hermann Gmeiner establishes SOS Children’s Village in Austria.
The First World Orphan Week is observed across the world.
The international community comes together and develops the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, a document intended to inform the approach to alternative care for children.
World Orphan Week FAQs
Is it OK to call a child an orphan?
The word is not pejorative, as long as you mean well.
Is there a World Orphans Day?
Yes, there is World Orphans Day, and it’s celebrated on November 14 every year.
How many orphans are there in the world?
According to UNICEF, as of 2021, there are about 153 million children worldwide who are orphans.
How to Observe World Orphan Week
Donate to the cause
The best thing you can do on World Orphan Day is to donate to SOS Children’s Villages, or to any other charity that supports the welfare and development of Orphans. You can even continue your contributions throughout the year.
Raise awareness in your locale
Do what you can to raise awareness in your locality about the hardships faced by orphaned and abandoned children. The more people know about the predicament of these abandoned kids, the better the children's chances of getting the help they need.
Share your story
If you or someone you know are the unfortunate victims of abandonment at a young age, you can share the story on social media. Let people know about the problems faced by orphaned children.
5 Facts About Orphans And Orphanages
Poverty is the main culprit
Globally, poverty (not parent loss) is the reason children end up in orphanages.
Orphanages can lead to developmental delays
Children who stay in orphanages for a longer period can experience social developmental delays.
Orphanage numbers are increasing
The number of orphanages is increasing worldwide, especially in Asia.
Orphanages can be expensive
It can be 10 times more expensive to take care of children in orphanages than in a family setting.
There are millions of children in orphanages
About eight million children are living in orphanages worldwide.
Why World Orphan Week is Important
It tackles a critical issue
World Orphan Day is about raising funds to help the children in need. But more importantly, it's about letting the world know about the life of these children who grow up without a family.
It helps us get involved
Although almost everybody has a soft spot for orphaned children, most of the time we don’t take any action because we have no clue how to help them. World orphan Week creates awareness about orphaned kids as well as shows us how we can help.
You can sponsor a child
By contributing and working toward the welfare of these children in need, you are potentially paving a way for a brighter future for them. You are helping not just a child but an entire community.
World Orphan Week dates