22 August 2008

SOS Children's Villages Urges Presidential Candidates to Support Orphan Relief

Orphan Relief
08/23/08 – SOS Children’s Villages (SOS) – the world’s largest non-governmental organization dedicated to raising orphaned and abandoned children – supports the proposal of a President’s Emergency Program for Orphans Relief  (PEPFOR) as a way to help the more than 133 million children around the globe that are without parental care1. HIV/AIDS, extreme poverty, natural disasters and civil war have left historical numbers of children at risk. SOS believes that separate funds need to allocated to curb this global problem.

This initiative was recently discussed on Saturday, August 16 with Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Viewed by millions of people worldwide, Pastor Warren posed a challenge to presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain. "There are millions of orphans in the world, growing up without mommies and dads. They don't need to be in an orphanage, they need to be in families," said Warren. He went on to ask "Would you be willing to consider and even commit to doing some kind of emergency plan for orphans, like President Bush did with AIDS -- almost a president's emergency plan to deal with this issue?"

Obama responded that the orphan epidemic must be addressed through a collaborative effort among elected officials, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and community groups. SOS stands ready to offer its knowledge and experience, and to work with world leaders, including the next President of the United States, to build an infrastructure for a new PEPFOR to help ensure that every child has the protection and security of a family. SOS also urges other non-governmental organizations to join this call to action for a new administration.

Founded in war-torn Europe in 1949, SOS operates nearly 500 villages in 132 countries where children are raised in a family setting and which offer family strengthening programs that benefit over 1 million children.

For more information, please contact Dr. Heather Paul, President & CEO, SOS Children's Villages – USA at hpaul@sos-usa.org or 202-470-5170.

Sources:

1:  “Unite for Children: Facts on Children." UNICEF. 17 July 2008. http://www.unicef.org/media/media_35903.html.