|AIDS in Africa (UNAIDS, 1999, 11 p.)|
Africa is experiencing a growing tide of children living in AIDS-affected households or attempting to survive after the death of their mother, or both parents, to AIDS. Often, the extended family- itself decimated by AIDS-can or will no longer cope. But institutions are not the answer either, not to a problem of this scale. Solutions have to be found in the community.
In Zimbabwe, people are rising to the challenge. Many village heads have designated land to be cultivated by all villagers to feed orphans and families of those suffering from debilitating illness, usually AIDS-related. In some areas, church groups have begun orphan-visiting programmes. Women are trained to identify the neediest orphan households in their area; they then visit them on a regular basis, providing all-important guidance and emotional support and helping with basic necessities. Because these programmes work from within the community they are affordable, costing an average of just 68 US cents per child per month-a small price to pay for a service that will help keep orphans woven into the fabric of society. Fostering initiatives have also begun on commercial farms.