As you’ve probably seen mentioned in this blog previously, reports estimate that there are more than 150 million orphans around the world. That’s a difficult number to wrap one’s head around and, more importantly, can’t be ignored.
Many of the world’s vulnerable children live in crisis as a result of having lost one or both parents to war, AIDS, disease, abandonment, poverty or natural disaster. Unfortunately, the majority live in developing countries where resources are limited and alternatives to institutional care don’t exist presently. Fortunately, thousands of Christian families, churches and businesses across the United States have stepped up to provide critical support to communities in need for the development of sustainable orphan care systems to promote family preservation in hopes of ensuring children receive the love and nurturing they require.
To that end, great progress is being made in many developing countries, with organizations working with local governments to provide critical training so that those countries can implement viable options to institutional care. In countries such as China, Ethiopia and Haiti, great work is being done to help families in crisis. Unfortunately, while systems are being put in place that will initiate substantial long-term change, we’ve only scratched the surface in making a real difference in the orphan crisis.
At Bethany Christian Services, our goal is to live in a world where there are no orphans. Our hope, likes yours, is that every child has a loving forever family. As such, we recently introduced the “One Family” program – partnering U.S. cities and international cities – to draw attention to the impact of a child’s suffering and recruit like-minded individuals and organizations in an effort to eliminate that suffering.
The One Family campaign kicked off in Knoxville a few months ago and culminates tonight (June 7) with a community-wide event celebrating the love and devotion residents, businesses, and local organizations have exhibited to families in crisis in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), the international city it was paired with. During these past months, the commitment Knoxville residents have demonstrated in support of the One Family initiative gives great hope to the ultimate success of the program. For Addis Ababa, where more than 150,000 orphans and vulnerable children live in the streets, Knoxville’s unquestionable support of the One Family initiative gives greater hope to Ethiopia’s developing Family Care program, where children are placed with families rather than institutions.
On behalf of everyone at Bethany, I would like to thank those in Knoxville that stepped up to support the One Family project – whether by sponsoring a child or family in crisis, by volunteering to help with preparations for local fundraising events or simply by helping to spread the word on this program that has grown near and dear to our hearts. Through their hard work, the Knoxville community has laid the foundation for what I hope is a cause that will be embraced by other communities throughout the U.S. Successfully helping millions of children in desperate need cannot be accomplished without the tireless commitment of many.
To learn more about One Family or to find out how you can support the program, please visit www.BethanyOneFamily.org/Knoxville.