Life as an orphan...Orphan statistics:
• It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (UNICEF).
• Every day 5,760 more children become orphans
• 2,102,400 more children become orphans every year in Africa alone
• Every 15 seconds, another child in Africa becomes an AIDS orphan
• 8 out of 10 children orphaned by AIDS lives in sub-saharan Africa
• Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
• Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home
• In Russia and the Ukraine, studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit sucide before they reach age eighteen
• These studies also show that 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals
• Another Russian study reported that of the 15,000 orphans aging out of state-run institutions every year, 10% committed suicide, 5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless and 3,000 were in prison within three years.
The goal of the Hope Por Tomorrow Pak Project is to help bring the love of Jesus Christ to these children before they leave the orphanage. Every Pak has a bible inside in the language of the orphan. The children do not own their clothes but simply get new clothes each week from the laundry. The Hope Paks give them an item that is theirs to share or trade with their fellow orphans who may need something from the supplies they receive.
The response from leaders of orphanages has been unanimous. They love the paks. One orphanage director in Russia commented that the discipline problems had diminished with the arrival of the Paks. We asked her what part of the Paks had helped with discipline. She said, "That's obvious! The bibles have been the key. The children sit around reading them all day!" At that specific orphanage, we distributed illustrated bibles in Russian. These bibles often cost as much as the contents of the Pak, but we are certain that they are the most important ingredient.
The Hope For Tomorrow Paks are also given to teens and young adults that live in "transition homes" that are typically church based. These homes focus on helping orphans transition into adult life without resorting to the abuse of drugs and alcohol or choosing a life of crime.