HOLMDEL, N. J. – Do you know how many orphans currently exist in the world? 133 million children have lost one or both of their parents (according to SOS Children’s Villages USA), and 15 million of that number are orphaned due to the AIDS pandemic.

Along with SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest non-governmental organization dedicated to raising abandoned and orphaned children, New Jersey-based non-profit organization Sylvia’s Children will be celebrating 2008 World Orphan Week from Oct. 5 through Oct. 11 by creating awareness of the enormity of this problem.

“Having Sylvia’s Children join us in this important campaign is a great way to help millions of orphans, one child at a time,” said Heather Paul, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages-USA.

Launched five years ago by Holmdel, N. J., resident Sylvia Allen, Sylvia’s Children was started with the intention of focusing in on Ugandan children left orphaned by the AIDS epidemic plaguing the country. Sylvia’s Children’s mission is to raise awareness and funds to educate, feed, clothe and shelter these children in the village of Masaka.

Since creating the organization, Allen has succeeded in getting sponsorship levels to the point where over 100 of the 267 orphaned children are sponsored annually; has constructed a well so that the children have fresh water and do not get sick from dysentery; built a library; purchased three acres of land, bought a computer and installed internet service, built a dorm for 80 boys, provided sporting equipment, delivered 29 guitars and lessons, and built two additional double classroom blocks.

“Can you imagine how traumatic it is to be an orphan at age 2, 3, 4?” said Allen. “We are trying, in a small way, to make a difference in these children’s lives by providing sponsorship which allows them to get an education and have a place to live. And, for only $1.00 a day people can make a difference in a child’s life.”

Add One/ Sylvia’s Children Celebrates 2008 World Orphan Week
Sept. 30, 2008

Sylvia’s Children was founded in 2003 after Sylvia Allen returned from a humanitarian trip to Uganda, Africa. The children at the Mbiriizi Advanced Primary School “adopted” her as their honorary grandmother. Allen saw the ravages the AIDS pandemic had on the community and was compelled to help her newly acquired grandchildren. She founded Sylvia’s Children to feed, clothe and house orphans in Masaka and provide education for as many children as possible. There are currently 907 students of which 267 are orphans.

“We believe that all children should receive an education, because education is the best means of achieving stability and safeguarding against extremist ideologies,” adds Allen. “Education is also a source of joy and inspiration and an end unto itself. Education is a source of social and economic advancement as well as a vehicle for teaching children to be good citizens.”

For more information please visit www.atlantichighlands.org or call (732) 946-2711.