There Is No Me Without You, by Melissa Fay Greene, chronicles an Ethiopian woman's efforts to save one orphan at a time.
After reading an article in the New York Times that reported 12 million orphans in Sub-Sahara Africa (with predictions that the number could grow to 18-25 million by 2010), the author was completely baffled:
"Who was going to raise 12 million children? That's what I suddenly wanted to know...Who was teaching 12 million children how to swim? Who was signing 12 million permission slips for school field trips? Who packed 12 million school lunches? Who cheered at 12 million soccer games?...Who was going to buy 12 million pairs of sneakers that light up when you jump? Backpacks? Toothbrushes? Twelve million pairs of socks? Who will tell 12 million bedtime stories? Who will quiz 12 million children on Thursday nights for their Friday-morning spelling tests? Twelve million trips to the dentist? Twelve million birthday parties?
Who will wake in the night in response to 18 million nightmares?
Who will offer grief counseling to 12, 15, 18, 36 million children? Who will help them avoid lives of servitude or prostitution? Who will pass on to them the traditions of culture and religion, of history and government, of craft and profession? Who will help them grow up, choose the right person to marry, find work, and learn how to parent their own children?
Well, as it turns out, no one. Or very few. There aren't enough adults to go around."
I may not be able to do all of that for 12 million, but I can do it for one.