The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. -Mother Teresa
The statistics on the Orphan Crisis are staggering. Most recent estimates say:
- 17.8 million children worldwide have lost both parents, and are “double orphans.” [i]
- 153 million children worldwide have lost either one parent (“single orphans”) or both parents. [i]
In South Africa, the most conservative estimates say that between 3 and 5 million children have been orphaned, 2.5 million of them by the AIDS pandemic alone.
- Many of South Africa’s children face complex deprivation; poor schooling, no transport, lack of running water, unemployed parents, inadequate nutrition, many lacking any proof that they even exist because their births were never registered. [ii]
- Sixty percent of South African children are considered to be poor. [iii]
- Children who have lost one or both parents are at greater risk of dropping out of school than non-orphaned children. [iv]
At Acres of Love, the crisis is much more personal than these daunting numbers. Each child in our care has a story that includes life-altering trauma, neglect, and/or the loss of one or both parents. The devastating statistics of orphans living alone and forgotten are overwhelming, but we can make a difference in the lives of the children we are privileged to serve. A growing number of children are designated to us due to our unique ability to receive children with complex special needs and provide them with the highest possible care. At this time over 38% of our children have moderate to severe special needs. We are passionate about welcoming children whose intensive special needs make them difficult to place elsewhere. We seek to feed their bellies and their souls, clothe them with dignity and respect, and offer them a place to belong.
[i] US Government and UNICEF
[iv] Unicef, 2012