Malawi High Commissioner to Britain designate, Dr Hetherwick Ntaba has called for the establishment of a U.N. World Orphans Day.
Ntaba, 72, made the call in Korea where he went to attend a high-level forum on the subject organized by the Korea Soongsil Kongsaeng Social Welfare Foundation, a civic organization.
The foundation is behind the effort to establish the U.N. observance.
“When you look at 150 million orphans worldwide and how much they suffer, there is an obvious need to set up this world day. Orphans are a very unfortunate group. They are voiceless and vote-less, and because of that they are often ignored by politicians,” Ntaba is quoted by The Korea Times.
Ntaba doesn’t agree with the narrow definition of orphans as those whose parents are dead.
“Kids who are raised only by a single parent are also orphans,” Ntaba said, arguing that the lack of care and protection they receive with a single parent can be significantly damaging to their development.
He said in Malawi, orphans are often found in rural villages where they lose their parents to malnutrition, AIDS or malaria. And they are primarily raised by uncles or grandmothers.
Ntaba called on the government, the international organizations and non-governmental organizations to provide assistance to single parents.