Aids Orphans in Africa
By Chelsie P.
Washington, Age 14
Left alone in a cruel and hard world, with no one to tuck you in at night, and no one to put food on the table, left alone to suffer. This is the harsh reality of and AIDS orphan in Africa, who is struggling to live right now. I support a boy named Kambo who lives in Zambia. His father died from ADIS, and his mother left him. He has no family and he is only six years old. Kambo is one of 12.3 million children in Africa who has been orphaned by AIDS (firelightfoundation, 1). No one should have to live that way.
Helpless, homeless, starving, hopeless. What life is that for a human being, or worse, a child? 82% of the worldwide total of AIDS orphans live in Africa (firelightfoundation, 1). They did not choose to live on the street; they did not choose to have their parents die from a disease with no cure. Some of these orphans have siblings that they have to care for too. How can they care for children, when most of them are still children themselves? But they have no choice; they are orphans…AIDS orphans. Imagine yourself in that same situation, what would you do? Where would you get food, or money to support yourself? It’s a brutal life, but everyday children in Africa are facing those questions.
The number of AIDS orphans is only expected to climb. It’s estimated that by 2010, 25 million children will be orphaned by AIDS in Africa alone (firelightfoundation, 1). If the number is only expected to get worse, then why aren’t more people doing something about it? 15 million children in Africa have lost one or both parents to this disease (projects.psi, 1), what if one of those children was yours? These children have nothing, and yet we take what we have for granted. Is America too selfish to help starving, homeless, orphaned children, or just too “busy” to care? Many Africans are uninformed about HIV; therefore, many never get tested and spread the disease. Not being educated will lead to higher death tolls, and increased orphans. Only two in every ten Africans have been tested for HIV (worldhealth, 2), that’s that many more children loosing parents, and becoming orphaned.
Where are the orphans to go? Their neighbors? Other families? What if they have no one else? Teddy is an AIDS orphan from Africa, who had nowhere else to go. “When my mother died we suffered so much. There was no food, and no one to look after us. We didn’t even have money to buy soap and salt….Some neighbors would say bad things about us- they say “Those children are so poor; they don’t even have relatives, they don’t belong”” (news.bbc 1 & 2). Teddy had to look after her siblings and was only eleven years old. 60% of all people in Sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV (soschildren, 2). The number of deaths and orphans are growing so rapidly because most are uneducated about the disease. If they knew, and were able to receive treatment then they wouldn’t spread it, and those numbers would decline. Getting them educated and tested for HIV is key in order to decline the number of AIDS orphans.
Would you want to live this way? We need to help those who can’t help themselves, and these orphans are one’s that must be helped. There are so many foundations out there that you can donate to that will help these children, like World Vision. You don’t even have to donate money; you can also help by devoting your time. Some churches go on missions to Africa to bring orphans food, or build wells to give them clean water; go with them and get involved. One camp through world camp for kids goes down to Africa and spends four weeks to help the AIDS orphans. Don’t be selfish, and be thankful for what you have. I challenge you to get out there, to get involved, and help these AIDS orphans.