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Prepare to ‘WOW’ in 2012 for orphaned and abandoned children

World Orphan Week 6-12 February 2012

Children’s charity SOS Children’s Villages South Africa is encouraging all South Africans to do something ‘WOW’ to raise awareness for orphaned and abandoned children.

World Orphan Week (otherwise known as WOW) 2012 takes place during the second week in February. Raising awareness for this cause is the world’s largest children’s charity, SOS Children’s Villages.

WOW was introduced in the UK in 2005.  Since the inception of this event, SOS International has played a key role in raising awareness around the needs of orphaned and abandoned children around the world.  SOS Children’s Villages South Africa spearheaded the introduction of WOW to our nation in 2009 and has played an important part in making every vulnerable, abandoned and orphaned child’s plight known.

“Sadly, society today has far too many people, mostly children and the youth, who are unable to speak or fend for themselves,” says Leigh Swartz, fund development manager for SOS Children’s Village’s South Africa. “In South Africa, many have lost their families to diseases such as HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis; some are abandoned by family members who are no longer able to care for them due to extreme poverty; others (some 50 000, according to UNICEF stats) are victims of domestic violence and crime. A voice for the unheard is needed and SOS seeks to be that voice.”

The statistics are alarming, poignant and woeful. This is the sad reality:

  • Every 2.2 seconds a child becomes an orphan (stats from SOS International)
  • There are over 160 million orphans around the world (stats from SOS International)
  • In SA alone, the number of orphaned and abandoned children has risen 4.5 per cent since 2005 (Stats from HRSC, 2010)
  • There are approximately 3.6 million orphans in South Africa, 1.8 million of whom as a direct result of the AIDS epidemic (stats from UNICEF)

“The need for organisations and individuals alike to become involved has never been more urgent,” Swartz continues. “The task is simply too great for any single government or organisation to tackle alone. Working together, however, we can achieve this. Our aim for 2012 is to get as many people as possible involved in achieving the common goal of assisting those youth and children without families.”

With this in mind, SOS is calling on all companies, organisations, schools, communities and individuals to do something ‘WOW’ to aid vulnerable, orphaned and abandoned children in February 2012. There are no limitations to how to get involved. In fact Swartz encourages those wanting to participate to be as creative as possible.

For those not sure where to start or how big or small a role you can play to make an impact, she offers the following ideas to inspire action:

  • Buy a R5 WOW sticker from SOS.
  • Host a WOW event for friends and family in aid of orphaned and abandoned children. Go to for tips and ideas on how to hold such an event.
  • Use your Facebook page and/or Twitter account to encourage others to get involved. Posta link on your page to SOS’s Facebook page and invite people to ‘like’ it.
  • SMS the word ‘SOS’ to 36976 to donate R5.
  • Donate online at
  • Clean out your cupboards and donate old clothing, blankets and toys to a SOS Village near you (go to to view all villages).
  • Donate your time, skills or professional services to SOS Children’s Villages facilities across South Africa

“Any money raised for SOS Children’s Villages will go directly to supporting the 7300 children in our care, as well as toward our community programme known as the ‘SOS Family Strengthening Programme’, a sustainable operation developed to support vulnerable children without removing them from their natural family environment,” Swartz explains .

“The Oxford English Dictionary describes WOW as ‘significant success’, she adds. “Our wish for WOW 2012 is that through increased awareness and participation each orphaned and abandoned child will benefit and as a result the World Orphan Week will indeed be true to its name and simply be – WOW!”

To make a WOW donation or sponsor a child in need, please deposit funds into the following bank account:

Nedbank Randburg
Account Name: Fund Development Unit SOS South Africa
Account Number: 1984 563 068
Branch code: 198 405
Reference: WOW -Your Company Name/Your name

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