What Will I Do Now: The Daily Problems Orphans Face
An orphan is a child who has lost one or both parents. This loss leaves a permanent hole in a child’s heart. With the absence of a parent’s care, the child faces a future with a high probability of abuse, exploitation and neglect.
There are many orphans in the world who don’t have the means to get education or have food to eat.
In underprivileged and war-torn areas, orphans are often left with virtually nothing. They often work long hours in difficult jobs, only to be paid in coins. This is true for many places like Sub-Saharan Africa and rural Asia.
In underdeveloped areas, children are hired as slaves and servants.
The lack of means to education is also a big problem for orphans. According to UNICEF and UNESCO, around 58 million children between 6-11 do not have the means to education.
Hunger is also another growing problem for orphans in the world. It is approximated that every 15 seconds, a child dies of hunger.
Globally, there are over 143 million orphans. That’s about half the population of the United States.
Every day they have to live with the fact that they don’t have a mother or a father to be there for them to protect them from the ills of society or give them a loving hand in times of need. An orphan often lives most of his life hungry, lonely, scared, and not fully-clothed. These are all on top of the growing pains orphans have to face as children who are transitioning to adults in society.
Some orphans have to wander the streets at night to beg, steal, and squatter to fight for their life.
This vicious cycle results in high suicide rates, high propensity to crime, and high possibility of turning to prostitution, which leads to even more orphans.
Economic Problems Orphans Have To Face
When a child loses a parent, he or she has to think of things such as sources of financial support, hospital debt, and funeral expenses. This often leaves the child in despair.
In a household with an orphan, financial problems often increases the probability of child labor to compensate for education expenses, food sources, clothing, health, etc.
These orphans are far more likely than non-orphans to work in sectors such as agriculture, domestic service, and prostitution.
Orphans and HIV
Orphans also have a higher probability of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.
In certain parts of the world, like in far-off provinces in India, the state government does not provide homes for orphans who have HIV.
Every month, NGOs in provincial India get a handful of requests to accommodate orphaned children, and they often cannot accommodate them. These are children who not only have to suffer the loss of their parents, but also have to face a future of rejection, disease, and a tragic ending.
Aside from the psycho-social effects of HIV to orphan children, there is also the increased likelihood of being bullied by members of society. HIV has long been considered a taboo disease in communities all over the world, creating stigma wherever they go and whoever they come into contact with. This leaves HIV-infected orphans with low levels of self-esteem and high rates of suicide.
Orphans who are infected with HIV not only suffer from social isolation, but also a decreased likelihood of being adopted by families.
This means that HIV has not only made children orphans from their parents, but also orphans from society.
On the off chance that they do get taken in, they are treated poorly by their foster families. Most orphans look at a bleak vision of their future with little to no optimism.
Sex scandals in orphanages
Orphans who are not on the streets often wind up in orphanages. Some orphanages are a haven for orphans, but other orphanages are the exact opposite.
There are millions of orphans all over the world who live in orphanages. In the best case scenario, they are provided with food, clothes, a bed, a roof, and an education. In the worst case, they are bullied, starved, abused, and sold to prostitution.
An example of a bad experience orphans face in an orphanage would be the St. Petersburg orphanage in Russia where some orphans were threatened to be sent to a mental health facility if they did not obey their abusive tutors or if they refused to sleep with them.
A now 26-year old Yakov Yablochnik, shared that when he was 13 in the orphanage, he was abused by an orphanage graduate there. He was forced to give his abuser a blow job and was later paid to keep silent about it. His story was later turned into a documentary that gained local acclaim.
Orphans In War-Torn Areas
Children in war-torn countries like Syria also face a similar plight. Not only do they have to suffer the pain of losing their parents, they also have to face the uncertainty of a future without parental support. These orphaned children have to live in an environment that is plagued with terrorists. Every day is an uncertain future. A bullet or a missile could leave them with nothing in an instant.
In places like this, children don’t just have scratches on their knees, they have wounds from shrapnels removed from their bodies. These are the remnants of the bombs that were dropped on them. The same bombs that killed their loved ones. They are left with a future without any parents to live for. Often hopeless, disabled, traumatized, and scared.
When you hear the words, “I watched my mom and dad die in front of my eyes,” from a child, something about it is just not right.
Every day children in places like Syria face the possibility of watching their loved ones die in an environment full of rubble and soot.