The Plight of a Vulnerable Child

Our vulnerable children having their peer session
Who is a vulnerable child? A vulnerable child is any one between the ages of 0- 17 years, who as a result of some circumstances surrounding him or her is deprived of some basic needs, like food, shelter and clothing.Nigeria defines an orphan as a child (0-17 years) who has lost one or both parents. A child is vulnerable if, because of the circumstances of birth or immediate environment, is prone to abuse or deprivation of basic needs, care and protection and thus disadvantaged relative to his or her
peers (FMWA&SD 2008).
An orphan is a vulnerable child because he or she has lost one or both parents to death, either as a result of health challenge, accident, insurgency or others. A disable child is vulnerable, also children living in a household where one or more people are ill, dying or deceased, or which fosters orphans, and children whose care givers are too ill or old to continue to care for them are vulnerable. They often have more health and social  needs than their peers.
According to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) an OVC is “a child, 0-17 years old, who is either orphaned or made more vulnerable because of HIV/AIDS.” PEPFAR recognizes that a vulnerable child is one who is living in circumstances with high risks and whose prospects for continued growth and development are seriously impaired, and the term OVC may refer to all vulnerable children, regardless of the cause. According to PEPFAR, a child is more vulnerable because of any or all of the following factors that result from HIV/AIDS: Is HIV-positive; lives without adequate adult support; lives outside of family care; or is marginalized, stigmatized, or discriminated against.

According to 2008 situation analysis,
  • There 17.5 million OVC, including 7.3 million orphans
  • 2.39 million orphans are due to AIDS (FMOH, 2008)
  • 10.7% of the 69 million children are vulnerable (UNICEF, 2007)
  • 10% of children are orphaned (7% in North-west to 17%in South-East), 
  • 10% in rural, 11% in urban
only a small percentage of Nigerian orphans finds their ways to the orphanages as most of them finds solace in the homes of family friends or relatives where they often end up being abused in many ways, some even go all day without food to eat, no good drinking water, education is not part of their agenda, as there is no one to train them in schools. The government still has to beam it search light and lend some support to the orphanages or motherless babies homes as they are often called, likewise good spirited individuals are to come to the aid of these special group of people who have special needs.