Frequently asked question regarding orphans. What is the definition of an orphan? What is an abandoned child? Why don't orphans have a voice?
According to UNICEF (the United Nation's Children's Fund) the definition of an orphan is anyone between the ages of 0 and 17 who has lost at least one parent. According to this definition there are over 130 million orphans world wide.
Most people think of Orphans as having no parent. According to UNICEF, anyone between the ages of 0 and 17 who has no living parents is considered a double orphan. According to this definition, there are 14 million orphans world wide, of which 9 million live in sub-Saharan Africa.
An abandoned child is any child (aged 0-17) who is left to grow up without the guidance of parents or family. This is a very difficult number to estimate. We are using estimates based on the number of street children in the world according to UNICEF. According to UNICEF, there are as many as 100 million children living on the streets world wide.
Orphaned and abandoned children do not have parents to take
care of them or to speak out for their needs.
Orphaned and abandoned children also, in general, have less access to education and are therefore less literate and unable to express their needs using the tools that most people in Canada have available.
Many orphaned and abandoned children are forced to live day-to-day with little chance to speak out for themselves.