Once the parents die, their orphaned children are subject to being denied food and shelter, beaten and chased away from the village, sexually abused, and used for cheap labor.
This is wrong. And World Concern is helping to change it.
World Concern staff members train pastors, congregations and community-based organizations in Kenya, Haiti and Zambia to respond to the biblical mandate to reach out and help the families and AIDS orphans and in their midst, as well as the widows who often step in to care for orphans, even though they themselves have scarcely enough to eat.
The results of this program have been amazing. Casting their prejudices aside, thousands of church members are offering love and financial resources to caregivers of AIDS orphans. Many have themselves become caregivers of AIDS orphans. World Concern and local churches help support those families with goats, cows and other sustainable means of food and income.
Last year, more than 25,000 orphans had their basic needs met through this program, and more than 5,000 caregivers received assistance – mostly from community members – to help them help the children. In addition, more than 1,500 older children – some of them head-of-the-household – have received training and support to meet their own basic needs. In the next few years, World Concern plans to extend this support to over 160,000 children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.
“We were just like a drop of water in the ocean before you came. Nobody recognized us. Now we feel part of the society,” said one Haitian orphan, who heads a household and cares for younger siblings.
Watch a slideshow about how we are helping.