Volunteers Work to Keep Kenyan Children Orphaned by AIDS Together at Home
The Christian Science Monitor today profiles AIDS orphans in Kenya, describing how the epidemic has "forced [orphans] ... to play the part of adult at home," by leaving school, working to support their families and in some cases becoming the primary caregiver. While orphanages provide a place to sleep and eat, they do not offer the "warmth and support that can only come from family ties." Property rights are also a concern for orphans, for if children leave their homes, "they will lose their claim on their land, and it will be taken by relatives or other unscrupulous people," Roselyn Mutemi, UNICEF's Kenya program officer for HIV/AIDS, explained. "[I]n Kenya, if you have no land, it is like having nothing," she added. As a result, aid groups are working to help youth remain in their homes with their siblings by bringing needed food and supplies to them. Volunteers visit the orphans' homes to ensure that younger children bathe and eat, while older children are offered counseling and work training. According to the World Health Organization, AIDS has orphaned 12 million children worldwide (Harman, Christian Science Monitor, 10/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.