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Programs > Africa > Children at the Gates

The Children at the Orphanage Gates

Imagine...No parents, No home, No food, Dressed in rags...
Your only wish that someone might give you some food, or a safe place to sleep.


This is the situation for hundreds of homeless, orphaned children in Africa who arrive as early as 4 a.m. at the gates of the orphanages we help support.  The children at the gates are actually small families of children who are trying to survive on their own, typically with no adults in their lives.  Many times, children of 10 years or even younger are responsible for several smaller siblings. 

They do not have the skills necessary to grow crops, collect firewood, or even purify water, so the children suffer from severe malnutrition. This sets up a particular vulnerability to diseases. There are countless numbers of children who have walked for days to the gates asking the orphanage to take not them, but their little siblings.  Often the older children turn to prostitution and other forms of crime in  order to feed their little brothers and sisters. 



A lack of tears…

They do not have shoes, they do not have blankets, and often they have no shelter.  Most have no clean drinking water.  It is unimaginable. The most shattering thing is the lack of tears. They do not cry, they just come, sit and wait. This is because children cry to be attended to, or get attention, and these children know that no one will respond.  



Will you respond?

The hundreds of children who come to the gates generally stay out in the bush in some sort of structure or shelter they have constructed, or what remains of the home their parents made for them. Often, they have buried their parents themselves.  Anything their family may have had with value is typically stolen from the children after their parents die. 

So, they stay out in the bush until it is nearly daybreak, and then make their way down little footpaths to the gates, hoping to be the first in line in case there is a meal, or even more hopefully, an opening for them.  Their names are dutifully written down each day in a notebook, they are given a cup of porridge if there is any, and then they are told "No, not today" is probably the only food they will have all day.  During times of famine, when food is severely scarce, there is only enough to feed these children just three times a week.  More children are saved this way because food reserves will last longer.  Unfortunately, every day is a crisis for the Children at the Gates but you can help improve the situation.  


Please make a donation to provide food and clothes
to a child who waits at the gate.


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