On a dusty day in a small village of Benin, West Africa, over one hundred hungry and sick children ran to the doorstep of a small and seemingly insignificant orphanage. The home had no running water and meager living conditions. The closest access to clean water was over two miles away, and very little food was available. It was clear to anyone looking at these tiny bodies that these children would not live long without an intervention.
Nearby in the country of Liberia, thousands of children had been left orphaned and vulnerable by the 14-year long civil war that had decimated the nation and pushed children who were already living in the margins even farther outside of safety. Innumerous children had become targets of abuse, as the country was ill equipped to handle the drastic needs associated with the surge in orphaned and homeless children. While the Liberian government began re-establishing itself post war, the process of implementing safety and oversight into the orphan situation was slow, and exploitation and abuse was commonplace.
Orphan Relief and Rescue was founded in 2007 in response to the nature and magnitude of violence and neglect of orphaned children in West Africa.Due to the nature and enormity of problems in both Benin and Liberia, other aid had not reached these communities of forgotten children, and our founders were compelled to act and implement positive change in these desperate situations.
Since 2007, Orphan Relief and Rescue has successfully implemented programs that have impacted the plight of orphaned children in both Benin and Liberia.
In Liberia, Orphan Relief and Rescue has collaborated with the Liberian government in establishing a monitoring and support system in orphanages across the country that ensures child safety, and expanded to include programs that provide a wide array of comprehensive services which include educational opportunities, leadership development, early childhood programs, and paths to financial security. Orphan Relief and Rescue also sits on the Accreditation Committee for Institutions that care for Children in Liberia, and an investigative sub-committee through the Ministry of Children and Social Protection, which approves adoption agencies accreditation.
Through our Break The Silence program, Orphan Relief and Rescue and our implementation partners work diligently to educate children to understand the dangers of trafficking and sexual abuse.
- “I own my body!”
- “I am special, and I should feel proud.”
- “I will tell someone if I feel bad.” We teach children to know what sexual abuse signs are, how these can be avoided, and how to get help. This is done through the use of a flipchart designed for children specifically in West Africa, which teaches four key messages: I own my body; I am special, and I should feel proud; I will tell someone if I feel bad.
In 2013 Orphan Relief and Rescue developed the Anti-Trafficking Initiative in Benin to address the rising problem of child trafficking in and throughout West Africa. Benin’s Ministry of Family and Children estimates that 15,000 children are trafficked in Benin annually and sold into slavery. Although the statistics and magnitude of the problem can be overwhelming, we believe wholeheartedly that every child matters, and every rescue is significant. Orphan Relief and Rescue currently runs several Safe Homes for trafficked children, Intervention projects, vocational training opportunities, and provides Micro-Loans to women living in poverty in Benin communities. Our holistic approach empowers local community members and provides a pathway to address the root causes of child trafficking.
At Orphan Relief and Rescue, we are committed to joining hands with governments in Liberia and Benin, other humanitarian organizations, communities, and the children themselves to eliminate injustice and see every child restored to their true value. Our vision of urban and rural Liberia and Benin by 2040 includes economically thriving families, boys and girls enjoying a childhood free from violence, successful African businesses supporting their communities, and nationwide awareness and demonstration of the value of children.
We work to overcome injustice in the areas of abuse, neglect, and trafficking for underserved children in West Africa.
To end injustice and see every child restored to their true value.