In an episode of the classic TV series The Adventures of Black Beauty, two orphans try to steal the famous horse. They are caught, though, by Vicky and Kevin, the two children who take care of Black Beauty.
The two orphans know only a life of stealing and desperation. They plead for help: "You just don't understand what it's like to be an orphan."
Vicky and Kevin do what they can to help, but at the end of the episode the two orphans are still on the run. Vicky, played by Judi Bowker, realizes how fortunate she is to have a family, and remarks, "It could just as easily be us, couldn't it… out there tonight… alone."
While this episode was a fictional portrayal, the plight of orphans living in desperate circumstances is very real. In countries like Romania, poverty results in many thousands of children being abandoned by their families. They have no food, no shelter, and are extremely vulnerable to all kinds of danger on the streets. They may fall into the horrid world of drugs or even prostitution.
The Government of Romania and charities have established special "children's houses" to help those abandoned. But these are often under-funded projects. That is where charities like ChildsLife International come in. They help supply goods to these children's houses. In addition, ChildsLife prepares packages of food and other items to distribute to street children. Special efforts are made to get these kids back into school and away from a life of stealing, drug addiction and prostitution.
ChildsLife, a Netherlands-based charity, also works in Kenya, a country where thousands of children are forced to live on the streets after losing their parents to AIDS or running away from abusive homes. In Nairobi, ChildsLife operates the Stara School. There they not only give children a chance at an education, but also provide meals and medications the children desperately need. The UN World Food Programme partners with ChildsLife to help provide the meals.
But as with any charity, it can only go so far as the donations it receives. ChildsLife relies on donations from the public and has even set up a Paypal account to allow more to people to contribute. The charity is even considering seeking funding from the U.S. McGovern-Dole Global School Lunch Program. However, Congress does not allocate much funding for this initiative, so there may not be much there for ChildsLife and others.
But ChildsLife and other charities have to remain resilient. They understand the difficulties children face in such a harsh world and they are committed to helping them gain a better life. For more information please visit their website.