What kind of image does this conjure up in your mind when you think of Aids Orphans? Brown skinned children, bony and sickly children. Why? Because the words Aids Orphans is synonymous with Africa. This is the legacy of Africa.
There are a whole host of reasons why this is so. A few of those are listed below:
· The poorest of people and countries in the world are found here.
· The most oppressed and disadvantaged of women in the world are here.
· The most continent with migrant workers is Africa.
What has this to do with Aids? The poor cannot afford the best medical care and proper nutrition. If you are poor and you are an oppressed woman, even less. They are usually the ones who stay at home to take care of the family. The men folk go to towns, cities and sometimes other countries to find work. Together with finding work, they also find girlfriends and HIV/AIDS.
The parents will eventually get sick and one by one would die. The children are left as orphans to take of each other. Their protectors are gone. They become victims of oppression and further abuse themselves. They is no money for school, proper nutrition. There are left without even the skills for day-to-day living. Cultivating the soil, planting vegetables for sustenance. The teachers who would have taught them how to cultivate the soil are dead.
Africa, especially sub Saharan Africa is the hardest hit continent in the world by the scourge of HIV/AIDS. The orphans, especially children under the age of 15 are the most vulnerable group.
These orphans are usually born into poverty. By the time parents die there is usually nothing left for the children. No chicken in the yard for food. No goat to milk. The neighbors are just as poor.
Fortunately, the situation does not need to be as bleak as that. Organizations such as UNICEF and Young Heroes in Swaziland are doing their bit to help. UNICEF is running a campaign into which we all can have a part.
There is a glimmer of hope in this very bad situation. The World Health Organization, WHO, says that a NGO conducted a survey of 28 countries in sub Saharan Africa. The findings are encouraging. It found that orphans estimated between 3.3 and 5 million were getting some form of public service, e.g., education, health care, economic support, etc. It also found that for every 100 children living with a parent who attended school, 79 orphans were also attending school. This could partly be attributed to the abolition of school fees.
It is heart warming to see that Africa is also doing something for herself too. Some countries in Africa like Swaziland are taking this pandemic quite seriously.