Ethiopia’s Generation of Orphans

Around 1 million Ethiopian children share the experience of losing one or both parents to HIV/AIDS.

If it’s hard for you to get your head around that number, try one in eight Ethiopian children are making their way in the world without parents – a generation growing up as orphans.

I recently read a New York Times article on Ethiopian orphans. While the story is dated, the issue is still relevant to the country’s current situation.

Even though HIV/AIDS is declining in our world, with new HIV/AIDS infections decreasing worldwide by 33 percent since 2001 – and adult deaths declining by 29 percent. What is left in the wake of HIV/AIDS – like these children – is still an emergency crisis.

Through Food for the Hungry’s (FH) child sponsorship and Orphan and Vulnerable Children programs, 16,620 orphans and vulnerable children are being cared for in Ethiopia.

These children are getting the support they need to stay in school, access food and water, get medical and psycho-social care. But there are more children who need help.

Many times, children who are orphaned from HIV/AIDS are outcasts. The disease still has a stigma associated with it. FH helps and teaches community leaders and churches to care for these children and others who might arrive along the way.

Many times orphans carry on in their homes with older siblings taking care of younger brothers and sisters. They search desperately to get money for food and rent, often failing. Relatives are often too poor or sick to care for them.

Add on the country’s droughts and food crises – with many adults having difficulty surviving these conditions – and its easy to see these children have too many variables against them.

FH helps these child-headed households, taking the burden off the older siblings. Together, we are helping to put these children back in school and on their way to learning how to earn a living.

So this blog is a thank you to all of you who sponsor children in Ethiopia or who have given to FH’s Orphan and Vulnerable Children program. It’s because of you, we are able to continue helping these children who are truly some of the  most vulnerable people on our planet.

If you haven’t given or sponsored a child, please prayerfully consider helping with this crisis. It’s not in the news, but it’s happening. And you can help ease the suffering of these children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many Ethiopian children face a life

About Renee Targos

Renee is a former journalist and editor for national arts and business publications. As a writer for Food for the Hungry, Renee explores and reports on the work and relationships of partners, FH staff and impoverished communities.

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