The economic, social, and psychological consequences of orphan-hood are devastating. For one in two orphans, this means sex or labor slavery, suicide, hunger, extreme poverty, violence or child soldier-hood before the age of 18. This is a global crisis. We must act while the children are still children; we don't have the luxury of time.
Today, there are more children living without parents than there are people in Manhattan. They have no parent to guide, love or protect them -- and they are extremely vulnerable.
Of these, one in ten will commit suicide before 18. One in four will drop out of school due to hunger, disease or stigma. And a full half of these children will enter the global sex trade, become child soldiers or enter the prison system before they are 16 years old. Some of those in the forced sex trade are the same age as a U.S. first grade child.
Supporting children living without parents means ensuring social and emotional support, creating safe spaces and fighting social stigma. It is difficult, tireless work.
Many who claim to support orphaned children do just the opposite – providing unsafe, unclean, unjust environments rife with physical and emotional abuse.
An organization is only as strong as the personnel, strategy planning and infrastructure on which it sits.
Creating long term value for deeply vulnerable children requires flexibility and agility, from both donors and nonprofits. Many donors place a heavy emphasis on ‘sure bets’, leaving NGOs little room for candor with donors, and discouraging collaborative navigation of the pitfalls & challenges of growth.