10 Best Charities for Helping Orphans (Complete 2021 List)

10 Best Charities for Helping Orphans (Complete 2021 List)

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Dennis Kamprad

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Funding a charitable project or alternative or sponsoring an orphaned child is among the noblest decisions you could make. However, not all charities operate in the same way or have the same reach. Therefore, it is crucial to understand each person’s unique characteristics and donate to one that resonates with your own values.

The best charities for helping orphans include global organizations such as World Orphans, Worldwide Orphans, and Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW). Others, like Lumos, Love Without Boundaries, and SOS Children’s Villages, provide individualized help to orphans or look after specific aspects.

Supporting children’s lives and empowering them to become happy and solid adults is an amazing mission, but identifying the right charity to do so is crucial. Below is a list of reliable charities that work towards protecting and empowering orphaned children. We have included a little more about their backgrounds, programs available, and channels through which you can help.

Below are our favorite charities for helping orphans (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support. And we’ll give you an overview of how you can find out how to best support your chosen charity.)

World Orphans: Best Christian Charity For Orphans Worldwide

World Orphans is a charity that aims to help orphans in over nine countries through the Evangelical Church’s engagement. This organization revolves around the principles of the Scripture and aims at bringing forward the ideals of the Gospel of Christ.

The charity publishes yearly financial reports, and it is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). It claims to use 12% of the funds towards overhead costs, accounts, and admin work, while 88% of donations are dedicated directly to the cause.

Countries Where World Orphans Operates

  • Ethiopia
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • India 
  • Iraq
  • Kenya 
  • Nicaragua
  • South Africa
  • Uganda

Programs & How You Can Help

The organization encourages donors to start a campaign. Indeed, just by raising $50, donors can provide education, food, medical care, and spiritual guidance to a child. Campaigns include running, walking, and coaching for a cause. 

Another program the charity proposes is World Orphans Journey Trips, during which volunteers can learn, serve, and defend the cause. These trips can be in-person or, more recently, virtual. 

Alternatively, you can opt to donate, volunteer, or attend one of the events organized by World Orphans.

Worldwide Orphans: Best for Culturally-Relevant Help

Founded in 1997 by pediatric infectious disease and adoption specialist Dr. Jane Aronson, Worldwide Orphans (WWO) has been implementing new strategies and methods over time. Today, it has helped over 8,000 children in countries around the world. 

The aim of this charity is to improve the lives of children who are vulnerable because orphaned or as a consequence of an adverse economic, political, or family environment. Unlike other charities, WWO aims at understanding the specific needs of children in these areas, providing culturally relevant solutions.

Countries Where WWO Operates

So far, WWO has been helping children in several countries, including Ethiopia, Haiti, Vietnam, the US, and Bulgaria. 

Programs & How You Can Help

Among the most successful programs launched by WWO is Element of Play®, a trademarked program that aims to rehabilitate children within their communities, supporting them to become solid adults. 

You can support this or other initiatives launched by WWO by making a donation or fundraising. If you prefer to donate something different from money, you can opt to join the Matching Gifts, Wire & Stock Transfers, or Legacy Gifts options.

Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW): Best for International Reach 

Founded in 1999 by Jim Luce, Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW) has grown to be one of the broadest reach initiatives. Today, this charity works to end orphanages worldwide, giving children the option to stay with their extended families instead. 

This charity’s mission is to empower orphans to become solid, properly functioning adults with equal opportunities and chances as everybody else. They do so through an environment that is fully international, intercultural, and thoroughly connected to the internet. 

Countries Where OIWW Operates

OIWW strives to have a worldwide reach and promote activism. The movement initiated by the charity has made it one of the most influential ones on an international scale. 

Additionally, the project has been extremely helpful in providing emergency response and family care to the victims of natural disasters, such as in the area hit by the 2004’s tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia and during Hurricane Jeanne in Haiti. 

Programs & How You Can Help

The company revolves around three main concepts: family-care, movement, and accountability. This allows it to provide data-driven feedback on the actions taken while looking after every child’s individual needs. 

Helping this charity can be done through donating, sponsoring a child, fundraising, or partnerships.

SOS Children’s Villages: Best for Community-Building

SOS Children’s Villages is a slightly alternative charity that has been developed upon the revolutionary concept to offer refuge, love, and compassion to the orphaned children as a consequence of WWII. It was introduced in 1949 by Hermann Gmeiner in Tyrol, Austria. 

The concept has been expanded and developed since then, and today this non-profit organization has created over 570 villages around the world. 

In these communities, at least one adult takes the responsibilities and roles of a parent for all the children living there. In this way, the children can create an emotional attachment and benefit from an extended family’s love and care.  

SOS Children’s Villages is a worldwide project and one of the most renowned and applauded by organizations, individuals, and families. 

Countries Where SOS Children’s Villages Operates

SOS Children’s Villages operates in over 125 countries worldwide, providing long-term education, healthcare, and family care to children who can no longer count on parental support. 

Programs & How You Can Help

There are many ways in which you can participate in this international project; the main ones include:

  • Donating
  • Sponsoring a child
  • Becoming a corporate partner
  • Becoming an institutional partner
  • Through philanthropy

Lumos: Best for Individualized Help

Funded and managed by author J.K. Rowling, Lumos boasts an alternative concept to other charities. It aims at helping those children who, because orphaned, have been living in institutions. 

According to the charity’s research, there are over 5.4 million children in institutions today, 80% of which still have a living parent. Additionally, Lumos has gathered over 300 pieces of research that show the long-term damage and harm living in an institution can cause to children. 

The main cause of such damage is the fact that children live with many others and are cared for by shift workers. Such an environment prevents them from creating valuable emotional connections with those around them, creating a substantial gap in their upbringing. 

Lumos, an organization that was conceptualized in 2004 by J.K. Rowling, has been working to provide children around the world with long-term family love and care. 

Countries Where Lumos Operates

Currently, Lumos is operating in the following countries:

  • Moldova
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Haiti
  • Greece
  • USA
  • Brussels
  • Colombia
  • Ethiopia
  • Ukraine
  • UK
  • Kenya

Programs & How You Can Help

The initiative specified several ways in which you can offer help. Some of these include donating, fundraising, campaigning, or becoming a corporate partner. Philanthropy and signing up for the charity’s newsletter are also ways to support the charity’s effort. Watching the documentary Finding the Way Home by Lumos can also offer you all the information needed to make a more conscious choice. 

Empower Orphans: Best for Youth Empowerment 

Founded in 2006, Empower Orphans is a project born from an old tradition started by the founder’s grandparents. Indeed, Neha Gupta would visit the local orphanage, together with her whole family, and deliver meals to orphaned children. 

Neha started the initiative when she was nine years old, and she continued to work for the wellbeing of orphans both in India and in her hometown in the US since then. Today, the non-profit organization has positively impacted over 30,000 children in India and continues to create positive change in several countries. 

Countries Where Empower Orphans Operates

  • India
  • Haiti
  • USA
  • Uganda
  • Central and South America

Programs & How You Can Help

The main way to support this initiative is by donating. This can help the charity support healthcare, education, mentorship, and activism projects.

Love Without Boundaries: Best For Medical Help

Love Without Boundaries is an international organization that aims at providing all the basic needs children need to grow healthy, strong, and functioning. One of the charity’s main aims is to provide individualized medical care to orphaned needs who need special care to regain their health.

The charity is able to provide such care through the help of donors, who can subscribe to monthly donations, sponsorships, and support. 

Countries Where Love Without Boundaries Operates

  • Cambodia
  • China
  • India
  • Uganda

Programs & How You Can Help

The best way to support this charity is by sponsoring a child. You will be able to find out the amount needed to support each child’s care or nutrition and decide on the help you will be able to offer. Naturally, you can also donate, fundraise, or volunteer.  

You will also find the help you need on the charity’s website if you wish to adopt a child. 

Miracle Foundation: Best Charity Operating in India 

Founded in 2000, Miracle Foundation has grown to be one of the best performing organizations, especially when it comes down to reviewing the methods used in orphanages and protecting children’s rights. 

Miracle Foundation is proudly in partnership with UNICEF, working with over 300 orphanages and helping over 15,000 children. They have also introduced an innovative system to identify and examine their progress and results, the Thrive Scale™

Through the results obtained, Miracle Foundation can evaluate the systems used and implement a start-to-end process to protect and empower children throughout the process of finding a suitable home and family. 

Countries Where Miracle Foundation Operates

Miracle Foundation is an Austin, TX-based organization, but it also has offices in New Delhi. It mainly operates in various locations in India, including:

  • New Delhi
  • Patna, Bihar
  • Gandhinagar, Gujarat
  • Ranchi, Jharkhand
  • Pune, ‎Maharashtra
  • Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Programs & How You Can Help

The charity encourages interested people to donate, fundraise, or volunteer in one of the initiatives launched. 

Orphan Life Foundation: Best Charity Operating in Burkina-Faso

While the Orphan Life Foundation has been operating in Africa for years, the non-profit organization started focusing its efforts on villages in Burkina-Faso in 2016. This is after one of the members had visited a school that the charity had been helping and was touched by an eye-opening experience. 

While also operating in the US, the charity aims at providing children in Burkina-Faso with education opportunities, holistic care, and health and medical support. Orphan Life Foundation also offers foster home and shelter services, facilitating the adoption process in a place where paperwork can make it impossible for a vulnerable child to find a family. 

Countries Where Orphan Life Foundation Operates

The charity’s headquarters are in Lacey, WA. However, it mainly operates in Burkina-Faso, in smaller villages such as Didyr.

Programs & How You Can Help

You can get involved in Orphan Life Foundation by sponsoring a child, volunteering, fundraising, or contributing to the purposely-launched Global Pandemic Relief Fund

The charity also operates several projects, including:

  • HIV and Aids Program 
  • Pencil for Poor Program
  • Pennies for Poor Program
  • Shelter for Shy Program
  • Clean Water for Children
  • Desk for Children Project
  • Roof for Rookies Project

Coptic Orphans: Best Christian Charity Operating in Egypt

Coptic Orphans is a charity based on catholic religious principles and aims to help children in communities all around Egypt. Founded in 1988, the charity has been expanding its reach steadily over time. 

Today, it has offices in Canada, the US, UK, Australia, and Egypt, which has helped over 55,000 children. It aims to empower children around the country through education, training, medical care, and spiritual guidance. 

Countries Where Coptic Orphans Operates

Coptic Orphans mainly operates across Egypt, but it does so through dedicated teams in the US, as well as in the UK, Canada, and Australia. 

Programs & How You Can Help

You can support this charity through a range of channels: you can become a sponsor, attend one of the events hosted by the Coptic Orphans charity, or even just sign up for their newsletter. There are also several programs you can leverage to get involved with the work the company does. 

These include:

  • Pray for the Children
  • Donate to the Children or Sponsor a Child
  • Give a Tablet
  • Leave a Legacy for the Children
  • Volunteer – you can do so in Egypt or in one of the offices
  • Dedicate or host an event for the children
  • Meet the urgent needs of a fatherless family in Egypt

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on this list are, we deem, the best charities for helping orphans. But don’t just take our word for it! You might want to do your own due diligence for each of these – as you should. Or for a particular charity that you may have in mind.

Either way, check out our six-step approach to select the best charity to support:

  1. Check out the charity website and their mission. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. The website is the best place to start. And while you are on it, also check out their mission to see how clearly you align with it.
  2. Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  3. Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing the progress a charity makes in reaching its targets, the chances are not making positive change.
  4. Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  5. Double-check the charity’s independent ratings. Two great places for this are Charity Navigator, the largest database on charities that analyze their financial health, accountability, and transparency, and Charity Watch, which details the amount of money spent on charitable activities versus overheads.
  6. Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place.

How You Can Support Your Favorite Charity?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

While donating money, or labor, to a charity for helping orphans is a great initiative, it is crucial to identify what charity works better for your goals. Indeed, each of them runs specific programs and initiatives that make it unique. 

Whether you prefer to help orphans in a specific area of the world or wish to leverage the international reach that some charities have, it is crucial to ensure that the organization you have picked is legitimate. You can ensure this by researching thoroughly before committing to a donation.

Stay impactful,



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

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