Millions Orphaned in Africa
Worldwide, there are an estimated 16 million AIDS Orphans. Of that number, 11.6 million live in sub-Saharan Africa (that’s over 77%). The vision and goal of AIDS Orphans and Street Children is to provide for children whose parents have died of the HIV/AIDS virus, and children or widows who do not have a sustaining family.
By the end of the decade, it would take 80,000 orphanages that hold 500 children each just to house the children orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Our Rescue Unit concept is a more practical way to reach those in need and is literally saving thousands of lives.
A high percentage of the population that once was responsible for economic growth and food production have died due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. As a result, many countries now have a large number of orphans and elderly people with no viable means of support and these are usually the first to go hungry in times of famine.
An orphan must always deal with the stigma that comes with having parents who died of AIDS. They are often seen as a burden and of no value to society. Our facilitators are working diligently to change the mindset of the villagers and show them that these children do have value and that they also can make a difference in the community.
AIDS Orphans Rescue Units — An Effective Solution
The Rescue Units are small portable buildings set up near the orphans’ own villages. Rescue Units can help several hundred orphans in a five-mile radius. Rescue Units are meeting the needs of children who once had no one to care for them.
The places where we are working are remote rural bush areas and oftentimes the Rescue Unit is the only source of help and hope available for miles. At one particular location, a man said, “I know God sent you because He is the only one that knows that we are here.”
Children are provided with:
- Education is made possible by providing school fees and uniforms for primary education.
- Medicine and the provision of malaria treatments and other common preventative medications.
- Food during nutrition seminars and teaching them how to plant gardens and care for animals to prevent starvation.
- Spiritual growth is seen during camps and social development.
Education is vital to giving these children a better hope for the future, but education is not easy to come by in Africa. Orphans cannot afford either the required school fees, books nor the uniforms to attend school. We provide primary education for as many children as we can. There are some Units where the facilitators are the teachers.
More orphans die of malaria and preventable childhood diseases than they do of HIV/AIDS. A malaria treatment is $3.00, but to an orphan, it is an incredible amount of money. Many of our facilitators are first-aid trained and some have even taken courses with local nurses and doctors. They do not profess to be professional medical personnel but are able to treat coughs, colds, malaria, fevers, seeping sores, scabies, and various wounds. Often our Units have more medicines available than the local clinic. The more serious cases are taken to the nearest hospital.
AGRICULTURAL & NUTRITIONAL
The facilitators teach the orphans how to plant, irrigate and maintain their own gardens. We provide all the seeds and instructions. They also teach them how to care for animals that will provide a source of income and nutrition. Another great need is teaching proper hygiene and nutrition seminars. The facilitators are able to teach local mothers and guardians how to make a protein-rich formula with ingredients readily available and affordable.
At one of our Units, a set of twins were brought by in desperate need. They were about 9 pounds each and could not sit or walk at the age of 13 months. After months of the protein-rich formula, they gained weight and started to behave more like their age. Today they are running and have the ability to fight off childhood illnesses.
Many of our orphans have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and are eager to grow and share their faith. Some of the orphans organize themselves into evangelism teams and go out to share the Gospel in their villages. We have now expanded into a Sunday school program to aid them in their Christian walk.
The orphans at a Unit in Malawi noticed that the elderly struggle with sweeping their homes so they organized themselves into groups of 10 with an appointed leader. They rotate sweeping houses every morning before going to school. These groups also plan to help some of the elderly repair their roofs and dig latrines. This example of servanthood is making an impact in the lives of the entire village and changing the way these children are perceived.
Rescue Units are also making a difference by enhancing village life through nutrition seminars, wells, and grinding mills.
The facilitators who are graduates of our national Bible schools are the lifeblood of the Rescue Units. These are very special national people who abound in love, servanthood and perseverance in the most remote areas of the bush. They make themselves available to the children and the villagers day and night, seven days a week.
The number of children that can be reached through AIDS Orphans and Street Children is only limited by finances and staff.
Current Orphan Rescue Unit Locations
• Zambia (15) • Malawi (10) • Uganda (2)
• Cameroon (4) • Zimbabwe (1)
Current Matron’s Unit Locations
• Zambia (3) • Malawi (2) • Uganda (1)