Editors' Choice World

Wed 06 January 2021:

World Day of War Orphans reminds the world that caring for children in traumatic circumstances is a priority particularly amid the pandemic. Children caught in crossfire or estranged from parents need utmost care to help heal the mental wounds of war, restart schools and normal life. World Day of War Orphans is marked every year on January 6.

The day aims to spread awareness and address the crises faced by war orphans or children in conflict. Also children growing up in orphanages very often face emotional and social discrimination.  

Displaced children are a big part of IDPs they (International Displaced Persons) who are forced to leave everything – including their homes, places of work and possessions. It is important that they don’t suffer and die of hunger and disease.


World Day for war orphans history

UNICEF and global partners define an orphan as a child under 18 years of age who has lost one or both parents to any cause of death. According to a report by, World Day for war orphans was initiated by the French organization, SOS Enfants en Detresses. The day has enabled global communities to address the war orphans. It has become a worldwide humanitarian and social crisis that is increasing day by day.  

World Day of Orphans: Key points to know 

  • According to the UNICEF, an orphan is a “child under 18 years of age who has lost one or both parents to any cause of death” 
  • There were nearly 140 million orphans globally in 2015
  • This included 61 million in Asia, 52 million in Africa, 10 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 7.3 million in Eastern Europe and Central Asia 
  • Child victims are a high proportion of civilian deaths in recent conflicts
  • In the wars of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, about half the victims were civilians
  • The number of civilian victims has been rising steadily
  • In the World War II, it was two thirds, and by the end of the 1980s it was almost 90 per cent
  • World War II saw a massive increase in indiscriminate killings

(Source: UNICEF)

The estimated total number of orphans increased from 1990-2001 but since 2001, the number has declined slowly – at a rate of only 0.7% per year, says the UNICEF.

1990: 146 million
1995: 151 million
2000: 155 million
2005: 153 million
2010: 146 million
2015: 140 million

Children are the silent victims of violence. Millions of children have grown up amid conflict fueled by war, ethnic strife and the fight over resources. Violence breaks down families. The breakdown in families means some orphans are forced to look after themselves and their younger siblings as well. A number of children face sexual exploitation in a conflict situation. On World Day of War Orphans, it’s high time we remind ourselves that every child must be cared for. 




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