Children orphaned by HIV/AIDS are found in almost every country of the world. In some countries there are only a few hundred or a few thousand. In Africa, there are millions. All have suffered the tragedy of losing one or both parents to AIDS related illnesses, and many are growing up in deprived and traumatic circumstances without the support and care of their immediate family.
When the HIV virus has infected one parent, the probability is high that the other parent is infected as well. Therefore, children often lose both parents in quick succession. An orphan’s caregivers may also succumb to AIDS related illnesses, with the result that children may suffer multiple bereavements. Being separated from his or her siblings often compounds the child’s suffering. Poverty and social dislocation also add to an orphaned child’s emotional distress. Factors such as loss of household incomes, the cost of treating HIV-related illnesses and funeral expenses frequently leave orphaned children destitute, and deprives them of the learning and values they need to become socially knowledgeable and economically productive adults.
SAAF works with the local communities to reunite orphans with extended family members, nearest next of kin, or other guardians in their own community. SAAF provides material support to families looking after orphaned children and helps the families to be self-reliant through income generating projects.
SAAF gives material support in the form of:
- School expenses – tuition fees, uniforms, transport, stationery, boarding fees and meals.
- Hospital and Doctors’ fees, medication including ARVs for children living with HIV.
- Money for rent and household bills.
- Money for clothing.
- Money for food and water, including water supply.
SAAF helps families to be self-reliant by:
- Providing cash for seeds and agricultural inputs.
- Supporting income-generating projects such as poultry and livestock rearing, textiles, knitting and sewing.
- Referring orphans to other local voluntary organisations providing services for skills training, college placements and employment advice.
Within Zimbabwe, SAAF is currently supporting orphans and families in Harare, Mutare, Norton, Chinhoyi, Chipinge, Marondera and Bulawayo.