This month’s spotlight is on Worldwide Orphans (WWO), a nonprofit organization established in 1997 by Dr. Jane Aronson, a global pediatric specialist. WWO is a New York/New Jersey based international nongovernmental organization (INGO) with programs in Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Haiti, the US, and Vietnam.

WWO’s mission is to transform the lives of orphans, vulnerable, and at risk children through access to medical care, education, and psychosocial support to help them become healthy, independent, and productive members of their communities and the world.

For over two decades, WWO has focused on children who live:

  • Without parental care
  • In poverty
  • With disabilities
  • With HIV
  • On the street
  • In a crisis situation
  • As immigrants and refugees

Transforming the lives of children and communities in need

In 2017, WWO served more than 8,000 children and families around the world through Element of Play® and 45 WWO Toy Libraries.

WWO’s cross-cultural programs are offered in:

  • Refugee centers
  • Shelters for domestic violence survivors
  • Food pantries
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Rehabilitation centers for children with disabilities
  • Homeless youth centers
  • Early childhood programs for underprivileged children
  • Residential care centers for children without parental care
  • Marginalized and minority communities

What is Element of Play®?

WWO’s signature program, Element of Play®, promotes healthy child and youth development and learning in communities affected by extreme poverty, conflict, and disaster. The program intervenes to address trauma in the community and to create sustainable, positive change. Element of Play® includes WWO Toy Library, Music in Motion, Sounds Fun!, camp for children living with HIV, youth club, sport for youth development, art, after school programming, mother’s groups, and family reunification and reintegration.

How does Element of Play® help children thrive?

Through their Element of Play® programs, WWO establishes vibrant learning environments where children develop trusting relationships with trained mentors and build foundational skills for social and   academic success. Children meet their developmental milestones in the areas of communication, social-emotional, fine & gross motor and cognition, and build the necessary skills to engage with their peers for both social and academic success. All programs under Element of Play offer and reinforce listening, language, and literacy skills for children.

WWO’s programs focus on children and adults

WWO trains adults at any educational level to become mentors with an increased knowledge and understanding of child development. With the help of WWO, adults learn specific strategies and skills to support each child and to further their own education and career.

The results tell the story

If you are interested in supporting WWO or learning more about their global impact, visit their website at or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @wworphans.