AIDS and Africa’s children
This article from Uganda-based New Vision provides a brief but moving overview of the problems faced by many children in sub-Saharan Africa. Several people were interviewed for the article; their words on the issue are far more valuable than mine. Here are a few of their comments.
Juliet Arukudo, a schoolgirl, on violence: “Many girls my age are raped, abused and molested, exposing them to HIV/Aids.”
Josephine Wasswa, from the Uganda Child Rights Centre: “Children are left in misery after their parents pass away. I know of a family which was headed by a single mother living with HIV. After her death, the orphans dropped out of school and resorted to child labour.”
Regina Bafaki, director of an NGO, on the difficulty of telling a child that he or she is HIV+: “In most cases, these children do not know how the virus is transmitted.” [Bafaki also notes that orphans face stigma in their communities.]
Dr. Margaret Mungherera, a health worker, urging communities to support HIV+ children: “ I know many children who were born with HIV, but are living normally. Some are even in higher institutions of learning.”
For a concise overview of how HIV/AIDS impacts children, check out this message from Dean Hirsch, president of World Vision International. It covers the following categories: children as caretakers, educational and economic impact, malnutrition and AIDS, psychological impact on children, social safety net failing.