Monday, December 21, 2009

Orphans Worldwide

There are approximately 145 million orphans in the world today.  Okay, that is a HUGE number.  What does it mean?  What does it look like?  Where are they?  WHY?

I've been wanting to understand a little bit more about orphans worldwide.  The video above (made almost 2 years ago) gives me some perspective on what the numbers might look like, but it is still pretty difficult to fathom. 

I also found an article from World Vision that helps explain the impact of the AIDS crisis on the growing number of orphans, particularly in Africa.  Click here to see the article--World Vision - AIDS Factsheet for Press.  Below is a short excerpt...

A global pandemic
About 33 million people globally are living with HIV or AIDS (nearly the population of Canada).

Last year, more than 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV.

More than 28 million have already died of AIDS.

The pandemic is the greatest medical, social and economic challenge the world as a whole now faces.

AIDS is primarily a disease of the poor; 95 percent of all people living with HIV in the world live in developing countries. While improved medical treatment and drug therapies are extending the lives of Americans and others from wealthy countries who live with HIV, worldwide, only 28 percent of the 7.1 million people who need anti-retroviral therapy for AIDS receive it. Sadly, only 17 percent of the 780,000 children in the world who need treatment receive it, much lower than the global average.

AIDS and children
Children are the top priority in World Vision’s HIV and AIDS response.

Those most affected by HIV/AIDS are the children: A generation -- more than 15 million -- has been orphaned (lost one or both parents) to AIDS. That’s the current number, not a cumulative total.

By 2010, the number of children orphaned by AIDS will be more than 20 million, according to United Nations estimates. Africa alone will have nearly 16 million children who have been orphaned. When you add that to the 37 million orphans from other causes (including malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition, and war), that’s 1 out of every 8 African children who will have lost one or both parents. In the five countries (Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia and Zimbabwe) where the crisis is expected to be most acute, 1 in 5 children will be an orphan in 2010.

In the United States and other developed countries, there are more than 400 adults for every orphan; in nine African countries, there soon will be fewer than 6 adults for every orphan. And some of those adults will be too ill to make a meaningful contribution to their care.

Children are suffering the loss of parents, teachers, community members and peers as a result of the pandemic. The tragic loss of key adults who once provided stability and protection has resulted in a rapid increase of children who are malnourished, forced to drop out of school and exploited for cheap labor.

AIDS in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa, home to just 12% of the world’s population, accounts for two out of every three people living with HIV, and three in four AIDS-related deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

More than 2/3 of the world’s HIV-infected population live in sub-Saharan Africa.

The number of children orphaned by AIDS in Africa – already more than 11 million – is growing five times faster than the total number of children on the continent.

Women and girls are particularly susceptible to the virus. Bound by cultural traditions that afford them a lower social standing than men, they often cannot control the sexual behavior of their husbands. Also, poverty drives many women to seek income as sex workers.

By 2020, Africa will have lost almost 12 percent of its labor force – or 58 million people – to AIDS.

Honestly, these numbers are beyond my level of comprehension.  But, what I do know is that everyone of these numbers represents a person like me or J or M or T--the most important people in my life.  Those numbers are people who are just as important. 

Below is one more clip from Show Hope with a few more stats.  Praying for full bellies, warm beds and loving arms for all of the children without a family tonight.

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