What is the image that flashes in front of your eyes when the term AIDS Orphans is mentioned? Sickly children having brown skin, with all the bones in the body visible. This image comes to your mind because AIDS Orphans are found mostly in Africa. There are many reasons for this:
– Africa is the poorest continent on the planet.
– Due to lack of education the women in Africa are oppressed and treated badly.
– Most of the working population of the continent is migrant labour.
So what does this have to do with AIDS orphans? The poor can not afford good healthcare facilities and nutrition is a problem. Women are usually the ones that stay at home while the men go to towns and cities to work. Most of the times the men find girlfriends and are sexually active while being away from home and this causes some of them become HIV positive. When the men come back home they pass the virus to their wives.
After sometime both the parents fall sick and die. The children end up becoming orphans and end up taking care of one another. The orphans are taken advantage off and subjected to various forms of abuse and oppression. Since they don’t have money they don’t go to school. Lack of proper nutrition results in lack of strength which means that they find it difficult to even do manual labour. They are unable to grow food on their fields as they do not have the knowledge and skills to do so.
Africa, particularly South-Saharan Africa is the worst hit part of the continent and HIV and AIDS is prevalent maximum over there. Orphans under 15 years of age are the more vulnerable of the lot.
Most orphans are born in poverty. Even before the parents pass away there is nothing really for the orphans to survive on. No milk, no chicken to eat. The plight of the neighbours is as bad.
Fortunately, the situation is not as bad as it sounds. There are a number of NGOs and organizations like the young heroes in Swaziland and the UNICEF that are doing varoius activities that is helping these poor orphans.
The WHO – World Health Organization,, has said in a report that as per a survey conducted by an NGO across 28 countries in Africa that close to 5 million orphans are getting some sort of public support and service. It has also found that for every 1 child with parents that is attending school there are 79 orphanse who are attending schools. This is largely due to the removal of school fees.
It is great to see that despite the large scale of the problem the governments and the people of Africa continue to make efforts to make the lives of these unfortunate orphans better and more meaningful.