about

Worldwide Orphans (WWO) was established in 1997 by Dr. Jane Aronson, a global pediatric specialist. WWO is a New York/New Jersey based 501(c)(3) international nongovernmental organization (INGO) headquartered in Maplewood, New Jersey.

 
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Worldwide Orphans is transforming the lives of children and communities in need. We provide education, medical care, and psycho-social support in their local communities so that they can become confident, competent, thriving adults who will change the world around them.

 
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decades of healing

Element of Play® (EOP) is a program developed to transform the lives of children and families in communities impacted by the trauma of conflict, disaster and poverty. Childhood trauma can disrupt children’s development, sense of self and ability to form attachment. This exposure has the potential to create enduring, devastating consequences such as substance abuse, depression, suicidality, lack of education and unemployment.

WWO’s Element of Play® intervenes to address trauma in the community and to create sustainable, positive change. Through developmentally appropriate, expert-curated toy libraries and the EOP curriculum, children engage in creative play and experience physical, social, emotional and cognitive benefits. These experiences support child development, promote school readiness, and help heal trauma—with the ripple effect of decreasing abuse and neglect in children’s communities.

By training adults at any educational level in the community to serve as the teachers and facilitators for children's learning, we provide transferable skills that make sense in the local context, offer employment experience, and foster the pride of supporting a child's progress. The mentorship and workforce development creates economic opportunity. This provides mutually beneficial connections between adults and children which creates attachment that positively impacts long-term health, well-being and civic engagement.

 
 
 
 

where we work

 
 

Bulgaria

10,000 children and adults served since 2009

Established presence in the country since 2009, with more than 20 Element of Play® programs in communities throughout the country.

Currently working with:
More than 2,500 children
Over 350 adults

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Ethiopia

80,000 CHILDREN AND ADULTS SERVED SINCE 2005

Established presence in the country since 2005, having partnerships with Ministries, local governments and community-based organizations.

Currently working with:
More than 1,500 children
Over 1000 adults 

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Haiti

3,000 CHILDREN AND ADULTS SERVED SINCE 2010

Established presence in the country since 2010, having a committed team of local staff and volunteers, deeply rooted in the community.

Currently working with:
More than 650 children
Over 500 adults 

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Serbia

36 CHILDREN SERVED SINCE 2004

WWO’s program in Serbia officially began in 2003. It was started to serve children displaced or orphaned by the Serbian-Bosnian war of the 1990s.

 
 
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United States

500 CHILDREN AND ADULTS SERVED SINCE 2015

Working in both Orange, NJ and Brooklyn, NY (in PS307), leveraging key learnings from all of our years of experience overseas. 

Currently working with:
400 children
100 adults 

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Vietnam

15,000 CHILDREN AND ADULTS SERVED SINCE 2004

Established presence in the country since 2004 and is now in the top 3% of government ranking of NGOs

Currently working with:
1,341 children
Over 1000 adults 

 
 
 

“If only they could see what I see.” 

the blue glasses

In the summer of 2010, Dr. Jane Aronson visited Des’s Village in Ethiopia, where orphaned children were making art with pipe cleaners. A three-year-old girl named Mahlet studied Dr. Aronson’s blue glasses carefully and crafted her very own pair of blue glasses. She tugged on Dr. Aronson’s sleeve and pointed to herself saying, “Me! – Dr. Jane! – Me! – Dr. Jane!” Eventually, the rest of the children made their own blue glasses. Today, WWO supporters all over the world volunteer their time to make blue glasses out of pipe cleaners to raise awareness for children’s development and see what Dr. Aronson sees.

 
 
 

“If only everyone could see these children as the fabulous, bright, and special individuals they are.”

Dr. Jane Aronson

 
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