Solutions for the Orphanage and AIDS crises
By Eric Gondwe (a Bethel Orphanage volunteer)
The orphanage crisis is encircled by its root causes -poverty, disease, AIDS, war and famine. There are therefore many strategies in combing the crisis. The burden also requires sustained action at all levels from world governments, regional, national and local institutions and individuals.
It would be a lengthy narration showing how institutions and individuals worldwide are working to combat the crisis. For example, in the UN, UNAIDS works to combat AIDS, UNDP works to alleviate poverty, UNICEF works to support the welfare of children and so on. Different organizations and branches have different commitments in helping the poor, the disadvantaged and other victims of various problems.
The United States has pledged US$15 billion, the largest government contribution form developed nations in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS. This was pledged by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2003 on funding over five years in Africa. Health and Human Services Secretary (USA), Tommy Thompson, said while visiting Zambia, “This war has caused more casualties than any other war. We need America, the European Union and everybody. Nobody is going to be spared unless we all come together in the fight against this disease,” (ABC News, Posted Dec. 1, 2003). Only our combined worldwide effort in combating the spread of AIDS will bring lasting results.
The orphanage crisis also needs a combined worldwide effort. HIV/AIDS still accounts for the less than 25 percent of the combined causes of the orphanage crisis worldwide (see Figures 1 and 2). These causes include poverty, disease, war and famine. HIV/AIDS is however the fastest growing cause. According to UNICEF, the worldwide orphan population under age 15 is projected to reach 106 million by 2010. 25 million of these will be orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. Most of the 25 million will be from Africa where already more than 50% of the orphanage causes are due to AIDS, particularly in Southern Africa.
All orphans have essential needs irrespective of the cause of parental death. Based on the UNICEF study, Children on the Brink 2002, the largest requirement of resources to combat the orphanage crisis is in Africa and Asia. However, there is no region that that the war against the orphanage crisis is irrelevant. It is hoped that all key players in the fight against the scourge and its causes will effectively apportion resources in all the areas of need.
Bethel Orphanage is among the numerous institutions established to combat the relentless growth of orphaned children. These include UNICEF, Life Outreach, Christian International, Christian Children’s Fund (CCF) and CARE. Our focus is on assisting the orphaned children rather than combating the various causes. Our combined worldwide effort of fighting both the causes and effects of the orphanage crisis will bring lasting results.
The mission of Bethel Orphanage is to serve the needs of helpless children and to equip them with the skills, knowledge, opportunity and self assertiveness required for them to live independently in society as opposed to poor children entering adulthood surviving on hand outs. The essential needs include nutrition, education, parental love, security, religious guidance, and opportunity for a brighter future.
Part of this mission is to effectively mobilize resources from both individuals and institutions for supporting the orphaned children. Donors and administrative staff comprise the members of Bethel Orphanage mission partners. We are working together in our mission of overcoming the orphanage crisis. Bethel currently supports over 100 children at Bethel Orphanage in Kafue, Zambia