|Investing in Our Future: Psychological support for children affected by HIV/AIDS. A case study in Zimbabwe and The United Republic of Tanzania (UNAIDS, 2001, 77 p.)|
|Everyones child: Educating the community on the childs needs|
Children have their own world. For us it is small, for them it is everything.
Dennis Bamwenzaki, teacher trainer,
There are many influences in a childs life, such as family, community, peer group, school, culture - all of which are potentially contradictory and confusing for the child. As illness invades the household, children begin to have different concerns and problems, and their behaviour towards others can change.
When children are troubled they are not in a position to verbalize their concerns and may express them through actions and behaviour, such as crying, becoming withdrawn, shouting or playing. Adults need to remember that the way children act is in response to their situations and emotions, and that there are usually underlying reasons for their actions.
My father died quickly, but my mother was ill for a long time so it was a different pain because I cared for her and washed her. It wasnt difficult though because I was the only one who could give her that care. My mother had relatives but they didnt help and refused to care for children that arent theirs.
We have to act like adults because no one else treats us like children and we have to do what adults do. Now I wake up at 4, do the housework, cook, bathe the younger ones, and then I walk about five kilometres to school. When we go to school its our happiest time because we are away from our problems. I want to finish school and get a good job. I will care for my children and give them what I have missed.
Sarah is 16 years old. She is the oldest of 5 children and her parents died when she was 14. Today, all five siblings live with a foster father on a farm in Bindura, Zimbabwe.