The Global Orphan Project Model:
The global orphan pandemic is a horrible blight on our world today, but also presents opportunities for radical life transformation. You won’t see it on the news tonight or read it in the headlines, but consider this:
- If every living human in the world joined hands in a global “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” chain, 1 out of every 2 in the chain would be a child.
- Among these children, approximately 145 million are orphans.
- UNICEF defines ‘orphan’ as a child who’s lost one or both parents. Why? Because in most places in the world, the social impact of losing one parent is the same as both parents dying.
- Of the 145 million orphans, 130 million are in ‘developing nations.’ The most vulnerable orphans on the planet live in the poorest economies, where extreme poverty chokes the life out of them.
- The statistics do not account for the millions of abandoned children or children sold or forced into bondage who are not orphans.
- Approximately 26,000 to 30,000 children under the age of 5 living in extreme poverty die each day. That’s a 9/11 catastrophe with children every 2-1/2 hours each day, each month, each year.
GO Project is a viral, grassroots movement of so many of you taking action to address this mess. You’re giving your resources and hearts. And we’re all learning something deeply mysterious along the way: the little ones behind these cold statistics can teach us how to love more radically, vulnerably, and deeply than we ever imagined. GO Project is not a ministry of misery, guilt, or statistics; but of transformation.
Empowering Communities God’s first line of care for children is the family, including adoptive families. For our target children, family is not an option. Perhaps their parents have died. Or, their parents’ and extended relatives’ lives are crushed beneath the weight of poverty, and little ones suffer without any viable means of care. These children – the kids of last resort – are the apples of our eyes.
For these children, we focus on the local church as the next line of care. Think of it as community based care with the local church as the centering point, where the kids become part of the local church family and community fabric.
There are many people here in the United States – families, churches, businesses, schools, small groups – who want to help these children. And there are established local churches there, where the children live, who are willing to care for these children within the local church family. They just need a little help. So there is a Here side, and a There side in this life giving circuit. The two sides need a connector. That’s us.
‘Village’ System We expand local church capacity to care for orphaned and abandoned children in their communities. We do so through a ‘village’ system. Typically, a village includes the following around the local church heart:
- Children’s homes with dedicated mommas;
– Support infrastructure (e.g., latrines, kitchen, dining area, well).
If we can rely upon existing support networks nearby (such as medical care or school) rather than building new, we will.
Signature Components of GO Project Model There are three (3) signature components to our model in the field. We emphasize orphan care that is:
(1) Local Church Owned;
(2) Base Level (culturally relevant); and
>> Local Church Owned
GO Project does not own the day-to-day care of the children. The local church does. The local church leadership hires and supports the mommas, the cooks, and other local staff to care for the children. GO Project provides assistance with planning, funding, assessment, and communication to help the local church meet base standards. The core of the children’s lives will include a steady assurance through the Gospel of grace in Jesus Christ. Our prayer for these children is that they will be free, utterly transformed from the inside out.
>> Base Level Care
We help the local church give the children a ‘bump up’ into a humble, base level of care within the church family. We want the homes and standards of care to blend into the community, not jump over the top of it. Americanized models of orphan care rich in material trappings often cause area families to abandon their children, in hopes that the ‘orphanage’ will take them to a better life. That is wrong. There is nothing fancy or particularly attractive about our model of orphan care. And that is by design.
In the GO Project vocabulary, ‘sustainable’ means that the target country’s own people and economy will support the care of their own children. We believe this is a vital goal to hit over time, village by village. Complete dependency upon foreign aid and leadership in perpetuity has created a systemic current driving against intra-community, intra-country orphan care. Fighting this trend through empowerment of locals, as well as economic and agricultural development, is core to our model.