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  4. World Day of War Orphans 2024: When did it start? Know everything about it | Explained

World Day of War Orphans 2024: When did it start? Know everything about it | Explained

January 6 marks the World Day of War Orphans, which seeks to highlight the challenges faced by children who are left orphaned due to war, invasions and military conflicts. According to UNICEF, the year 2023 has been one of the worst years for children with wars in Ukraine and Gaza among others.

Written By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Published on: January 06, 2024 15:07 IST
The World Day of War Orphans is observed on January 6.
Image Source : PIXABAY/REPRESENTATIVE The World Day of War Orphans is observed on January 6.

There is no doubt about the fact that war claims a lot of lives and leaves several children deprived of their parents and siblings, while causing enormous amounts of psychological trauma and grief. In this regard, January 6 marks the World Day of War Orphans, which seeks to highlight the challenges faced by children who are left orphaned due to war, invasions and military conflicts.

Why is it important? This year, the world has witnessed several intense conflicts, such as those between Israel and Hamas, Russia and Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the civil war in Sudan. These conflicts have resulted in a monumental increase in the number of war orphans. The World Day of War Orphans helps draw the attention of the world to the needs and hardships of these orphaned children.

Overcoming these hurdles can seldom be so easy, as children who suffer the unimaginable pain of seeing their parents and siblings die in front of their eyes face difficulties in blending with mainstream society due to their trauma. According to UNICEF, the year 2023 has been one of the worst years for children, yet several other organisations are working so they can lead a better life.

History of this day

The World Day of War Orphans was proposed and started by the French organisation SOS Enfants en Detresses. The primary concern of this organisation is to protect children from all forms of abuse and mistreatment. It highlighted the suffering and trauma war orphans face - including displacement, malnourishment and disease.

According to the UNICED, at least 900,000 children in the Northeast have been seriously impacted by the war, such as lack of education, food, housing, hygiene or physical damage. The date of January 6 has been chosen deliberately so that we can spread awareness at the beginning of the new year and help to stop conflicts that create more war orphans.

Theme for this year

The theme for World Day of War Orphans 2024 is centred around the concept of "Orphan Lives Matter', derived from the 'Black Lives Matter' movement in the context of racial justice in the United States. The theme asserts the need for support and protection for vulnerable individuals who have been orphaned in regional conflicts.

The theme for last year was "Standing Up for War-Affected Children". Notably, the year 2023 has seen several conflicts that have killed tens and thousands of people and displaced millions. The theme is meant to call for global attention towards the challenges faced by orphaned children and how to meet their needs.

The theme for the year 2022 was "Care for children in a horrible situation is an obligation, especially in the face of a pandemic" as the world sought to recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Significance of this day

UNICEF estimated that there were 140 million orphans across the world by 2015. Nearly half of the people who died in the wars fought in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries were civilians. This number grew to two-thirds in the Second World War and by the 1980s, almost 90% of the victims were civilians.

Therefore, the estimated number of orphans has increased from 1990-2001. However, the number has declined slowly at a rate of 0.7% each year, said the UNICEF, but there is much to do in this regard, as newer conflicts are emerging with each passing year. The need to protect orphans is also becoming more dire.

Children become the silent targets of such attacks and often go unnoticed. They grow up with a life of turmoil, displacement, racial turmoil and lack of resources. In war situations, a lot of children are also subjected to sexual assaults, forced labour and human trafficking. The World Day of War Orphans becomes important in raising all the injustices and challenges they face in leading their lives.

People can donate to war relief and funds that help people in war-stricken areas and help orphans return to a better life. Additionally, spreading awareness through social media about war orphans also contributes immensely to such efforts and possibly prevents a humanitarian catastrophe. These little steps provide others to make a difference in the lives of the orphaned kids.

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