World AIDS Orphans Day
World AIDS Orphans Day: an overview
May 7 was World AIDS Orphans Day. World AIDS Orphans Day is a grassroots campaign to draw attention to and advocate on behalf of the over 15 million children orphaned by AIDS.
In 2010, the number of children worldwide who have lost one or both parents to AIDS is expected to reach 25 million – equivalent to the number of people living in New York, Paris, and Bangkok combined. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, over 15 million children have been orphaned by the pandemic.
- AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and is the final and most serious stage of HIV. While there is no cure for HIV, there are treatments available, including antiretroviral drugs. However, if these antiretroviral drugs are not effective or are not taken in a timely manner, HIV can lead to AIDS and become fatal.
- In many communities, the stigma of having HIV or AIDS causes people not to seek treatment, or in some cases, treatments will not be accessible or available. This all too often leads to the death of many people infected with AIDS.
- In addition to the trauma of losing a parent, orphans are often subject to discrimination and are less likely to receive health care, education and other needed services.
- In HIV affected households lacking community support, food consumption can drop by 40%, putting children at risk to hunger, malnutrition and stunting.
- South Africa, Uganda, and Nigeria are the countries that have the most AIDS orphans in the world.
- Impoverished and often without support to educate and protect them, orphans and vulnerable children face increased risks of HIV infection. However, they do not necessarily have HIV just because their parents did.
- Orphans are often easy prey to many forms of exploitation: forced labor, prostitution and child soldiering.
In some countries, Plan uses music, dance, drama and other performances in community centers, churches and schools to help teach people about HIV and AIDS... including many of our own YUGA members!
For the past three years, the proceeds from our Move to Stop AIDS Dance-a-thons have helped provide support to many AIDS orphans in Uganda! One of Plan's projects in Uganda, called Nyalakot PTC, has helped give proper medical care and treatment to those affected by HIV and AIDS. It has also helped sponsor quality education for the children of those affected, and has allowed for the establishment of vocational training centers for AIDS orphans. These vocational centers are set up so that AIDS orphans can be protected from the dangers of exploitation and abuse.
So far, the results of this project have been overwhelmingly positive, so get on your dancing shoes and start practicing so that our next Dance-a-thon can continue to help benefit such a great cause!
Post Test Clubs (PTCs) have been able to do remarkable things in the battle against HIV and AIDS and to help support the orphans of parents affected by AIDS.
They support each other—showing love and care, providing material assistance to the most needy widows and orphans among them, working together on projects, and pooling resources to pay for members' funerals.
Their motto is “Living Positively." Regardless of their disease status, they believe a positive attitude will help them and their loved ones through difficult times.
What is Plan doing?
- In countries such as Uganda, Plan is implementing more awareness and intervention programs to ensure that parents, caregivers and the community provide a protective environment for young children to ensure they grow up free from neglect and abuse, that children are born and raised during their first five years in conditions that ensure their survival and optimal physical development, and that young children enjoy a caring and stimulating environment, both at home and within their community where they can explore, learn, and socialize.
- Plan supports the sponsorhip of children all around the world, including some AIDS orphans.
- In November of 2009, Plan played a key role in passing a new Child Rights Bill in Tanzania which will provide stricter punishments for child rights violations. Plan Tanzania worked as part of a special task force along with other child rights organisations and the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children in preparing the bill from draft stage to its passing by parliament.
What can you do?
There are a number of steps that you can take to help AIDS orphans around the world. The first step is educating yourself about AIDS and then educating your peers and community. In order to fight the stigmas, more awareness needs to be spread about the disease and who it can affect.
You can hold fund raising events at your school or in your community! Have a dance-a-thon, a bake sale, or a car wash! Put on a play or an art show! Create visual aids to make sure AIDS becomes more visible! Get active and make sure your friends, family, and others get active, too.
Sponsor a child with your family! There are so many children in need, including AIDS orphans, and your sponsorship can help better the life of a child somewhere around the world. With your support, a child can feel love and care and have better access to education and health care.
Want to Find Out More?!
Learn More: Read about Mbali, an AIDS orphan who just wants a safe place to be a girl.
Watch: Plan and Nokia: Giving African Children a Voice -- a film about how Plan and the phone company Nokia are helping children speak out and make their voices heard in their communities.
Donate: Make a contribution to support child-centered HIV/AIDS programs where needed most around the world.
Join: Learn more about YUGA and how to create your own YUGA group! YUGA is a great way to meet new people and talk with others about issues affecting the world today. You and your friends are the future, and by being aware of world matters, you will help to make a better future.