USA (MNN) — According to statistics there are up to 200 million children who are classified as orphans around the world. In Africa, HIV/AIDS has created more than 13 million orphans. Natural disasters around the world have added to those numbers. Who's taking care of them? Kids Alive International is just one organization that's caring for them both physically and spiritually.
President of Kids Alive Al Lackey says the ministry started in 1916. "Our focus is to rescue orphans around the world, to give them care, and to bring them into the Kids Alive family and care for them until they're adults and productive men and women in their own countries."
Currently, Kids Alive is working in 17 different countries located in Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Lackey says they have three facets of their ministry. The first is residential orphan care.
Kids Alive is "not the old traditional orphanage that we've all heard about," says Lackey. "We have small family units with houseparents. The kids have been abandoned, abused or orphaned, and we give them all the same care that you and I would give our children here in the U.S."
Kids Alive also reaches out to the local community to help family members. "Many grandmas have taken in their grandchildren. So we reach out to them. We can help the grandma keep the child at home," he adds.
Lackey says they also provide education. "We all know that to break the cycle of poverty, you have to have a good education. So we give our kids a great education. We may use the public schools within the country, but if they're not up to standards, then we build our own schools."
Sharing the Gospel with these kids is a top priority, even in countries where the Gospel isn't welcomed. Lackey says, "We have about 700 nationals who work for us around the world. [They're] wonderful believers who are creative, and they understand how to survive and share the Gospel in their countries."
According to Lackey, the Gospel is the most important component to their work. "We know that with Jesus Christ in their hearts, they're going to change their country. That's our hope and prayer."
Kids Alive takes care of 6,500 children. You can help by sponsoring a child for $35 a month. This financial gift will enable Kids Alive to make an eternal difference in the lives of these kids. If you'd like to help, click here.