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HIV/ AIDS Orphans

HIV/ AIDS Crisis, Sub-Sahara, Africa

Responding to Orphans of Pandemic

Recently, Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, issues a warning that unless we take drastic steps to stop the HIV/ AIDS pandemic, the world will have a vast human catastrophe beyond what has ever been known in human history. She said the crisis in the south of the Sahara desert, amongst orphan children under the ages of 15yrs is growing and will be long term.

Ikechukwu Daniel Nwankwo, 7-yrs
The countries most affected by HIV/ AIDS are Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Kenya, where more than one in five children will be orphans by 2010, more than 80% because of AIDS. Even in countries such as Uganda, where HIV prevalence has stabilized or fallen, the number of orphans' remains high because of the proportion of adults already infected with HIV. At least half of these orphaned children are between the ages of 10 and 14yrs. After AIDS claims their parents, they are left without critical guidance, protection and support and because of the desperate poverty that surrounds them, they are then at high risk of malnutrition, physical or sexual abuse and exposure to HIV infections.

Those who are left to care for these children, such as their grandparents, those of their extended families and others in the community become overwhelmed at the enormity of the task. Grandparents and women generally are already poorer and are increasingly less able to provide adequately for these orphans and yet they are the ones that care for 90% of them.

Chinedum Okezie, 15-yrs
Failure to respond to the orphan crisis jeopardizes not only the children's future, but also the prospects for peace and security and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Failure to respond would leave children without parental protection, adequate education, stabilized skills and professions, or spiritual guidance and would leave these millions ill prepared to assume responsible, productive roles as adults. It is incomprehensible what kind of lifestyle such ill prepared orphans would grow up to live. Without proper care, many would grow up to become bandits or terrorists with no love for their fellow man.

According to Grace Machel, the wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela and leading advocate for the rights of African children, "Children cannot wait! Their rights cannot be postponed!" Providing immediate help to communities and using foster parenting models from the extended family we must include primary and secondary level and possibly high learning education, safe and viable options for earning a living without child labor, meals and lodging centres and other assistance as needed. It has been said that if parents can be kept alive long enough, these children can get off to a good start. I would like to add to that by saying that if we can keep the orphan's willing caregivers alive long enough, we could give these children al good and positive start!

Chioma Frank, 14-yrs old
I invite you to joint with us in sponsoring one of these children. Please look through the pictures and lit us know the child/ children that you would like to sponsor with your gift of $50 per child each month. Let me remind you that the children you are looking at are amongst those missing out of the very basics of life - love, food, proper health care, parental care, education and a future. But with your sponsorship an orphan will be provided with these basics.

Truly, I as an African Know fully well, that your sponsorship affects not only a child but also a whole community. Just get the fire going in a bush and it will burn the whole jungle. These children and anxiously waiting for you!

Chizoba Umezuruike, 14-yrs old

Kelechi Onwuasoanya, 16-yrs old

Bright Nwoke, 14-yrs old

Uzoma Sunday, 11-yrs

Onyinyechi Okabalama, 15-yrs

Abraham Frank, 8-yrs