Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Orphan Stats

I've been reading a lot of books and articles about Ethiopia, and also about orphans around the world the past few weeks. There is much that I didn't (and much that I still don't) know about the country, the culture, the politics. The list goes on and on. I've never been much of a history buff, so a lot of the information that I read doesn't stick around in my brain for long. But sadly, some of it seems to burn it's way into my brain, leaving small hurts & possibly permanent scars.

It's easy to want to hide your head in the sand and just NOT know what is going on around the world. I'm frequently guilty of refusing to watch the news for a number of reasons, the least of which is not the fact that a lot of it is heart-breaking and I just don't want to know. However, if we don't know, then we don't act, and if we don't act, then things don't change.

So, in an effort to spread some information & force others to get their heads out of the sand, I thought I'd share some facts that I've come across the past few weeks.

  • Over 140 million orphans and waiting children under the age of 18 have lost one or both parents.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa, with 48.3 million orphans, has the highest proportion of children who are orphans at 12%
  • Orphaned children are much more likely than non-orphans to be working in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service and in the sex trade
  • Orphans are more vulnerable and at risk of becoming victims of violence, exploitation, trafficking, discrimination, or other abuses
  • More than 500,000 children are in United States foster care
  • Only around 50,000 children, or 18% of those waiting in foster care, are adopted every year
  • On average, children in foster care wait over 2 years to be adopted
  • Every 14 seconds a child loses a parent due to AIDS
  • By 2010, the number of children orphaned by AIDS globally is expected to exceed 25 million
  • More than 14 million children under the age of 15 have lost one or both parents to AIDS, the vast majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, one in six households with children is caring for at least one orphan. Yet this still leaves millions of children who are left in the care of strangers — or with no one
  • In countries increasingly ravaged by AIDS, orphaned children not only lose their parents but also teachers, health workers and civil servants who die of the disease
  • Ethiopia is only twice the size of Texas, but it is home to nearly 6 million orphans. More than half a million of these were orphaned as a result of AIDS
  • Over one-third of Americans have ever considered adopting, but no more than 2 percent of Americans have actually adopted

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