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Trans Nzoia district, where Great Mercy is located, is home to thousands of orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children due to high rate of HIV/AIDS prevalence, unending violent tribal clashes, absolute poverty and lack of knowledge about children’s rights. There are many internally displaced and landless families, unaccompanied and neglected children.
To date, orphans remain a burden of extended families although most of these are living from hand to mouth. The parents of the children die due to the AIDS scourge.
In such a situation, children homes who can hardly take care of their own children naturally find it almost impossible to take in an extra child into their homes. This poses challenges on the admission process thus some children turn up at the gate unaccompanied and you can’t send them away.
As more family members succumb to Aids, the problem becomes even more complex because the community governing elders can’t provide solutions without resources.
In fact, this scenario has been played out over and over again, so that today we have another unique orphan problem in Kipsongo slum: households headed and managed by children themselves because all growing relatives have perished. Fewer families can afford to send their children to school, with young girls at particular risk of being denied an education. In both urban and rural areas, many orphans are struggling to survive on their own. It is difficult to overstate the trauma and hardship that children affected by HIV/AIDS are forced to endure. There may be little familial planning for the children’s future.
A myriad of interrelated factors take their toll: grief over the death of a parent, fear about the future, separation from siblings, distress about worsening economic circumstances, and HIV/AIDS-related discrimination and isolation. In addition, orphans and widows face loss of inheritance,
Great Mercy children’s home is a solace to the orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children.
The home’s financial support will be used for putting up five houses, with a capacity to accommodate forty more children, bringing the number to one hundred children which is our current target .We also require finances to sustain the current number of children within our care numbering 60 , to finance children’s educational needs, cater for staff remuneration, administrative expenses, children’s personal care, transport, food and some investments in income generating activities like tailoring for girls and carpentry for boys to ensure sustainability of the program and in turn give the children skills they can use in future to be independent once they leave the home. The support will help run the program for five years by the end of which the sustainability arrangements would have taken course. .
The AIDS pandemic has created an orphan crisis in sub-Saharan Africa which accounts for 95% in the whole world. Turning the tide of this emergency requires immediate and sustained action at all levels. This unprecedented orphan crisis will require radically scaled-up national, regional, and community responses for at least two decades especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where children have been hardest hit.
The social and economic impacts of AIDS threaten the wellbeing and security of millions of children worldwide. As parents and other family members become ill, children drop away from school and take on greater responsibility for income generation, food production, and care of family members. They face decreased access to adequate nutrition, basic health care, housing, and clothing. Small girls turn to prostitution escalating the problem of HIV spread further. In both urban and rural areas, many orphans are struggling to survive on their own in child-headed households. Many others are forced to live on the street.
Volunteer homes tending for a high proportion of orphans require urgent assistance. Responses need to be focused and scaled up because they are at the center of the crisis; these homes are the most overstretched. Collaboration is key. No one can tackle this crisis alone.