Two girls in an orphanage in St. Petersburg, Russia. (MNN file photo)
President of Orphan Outreach Mike Douris says, "We've got a group of us that have a lot of experience in orphan care to create a program that really targets those children that have been impacted or in countries that are really emerging countries where the crisis is impacting [children] more directly."
While the AIDS crisis has affected Africa most notably, Douris says their focus initially will be Guatemala, Honduras, India, and Russia. "In some portions of Russia, the infection rates are as high as Africa. The numbers are not as significant yet, but they're growing significantly. In some parts of India, the infection rate is around two percent."
With a population of more than one-billion people, millions are infected.
Douris says a child's future is bleak upon graduating from an orphanage. "A high percentage of kids commit suicide within the first year of leaving the orphanage. And a very high percentage end up in crime, or prostitution, or any way that they can possibly survive."
He says education is the key to success. "One of our goals is to create Christian educational opportunities where kids not only get an education but also can be introduced to Christ and be able to be discipled and mentored. They also need tools to be able to be successful in life after they graduate."
Developing foster care and group homes need to go together with education, says Douris.
Helping these children early is important, says Douris. "When you look at the fact that most people accept Christ before they're 20 years old, the opportunity to really have an impact with the Gospel is with kids. So it's a great opportunity to be able to give children hope."
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