HOPE HOUSE FOUNDATION - “It is today that we create the world of the future.” ~~
 HIV/AIDS has infected an estimated 36 million and claimed 22 million lives globally.Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst affected.
The estimated number of children orphaned by AIDS and living in the region is above 13 million. With around one in seven adults living with HIV, Zimbabwe is experiencing one of the harshest AIDS epidemics in the world. An estimated 761,000 children in Zimbawe have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS.
Although efforts by the government and civil society are being made to address the growing orphan problem, it has not been easy due to Zimbabwe’s socio-economic environment.  Parents, who are usually the breadwinners, continue to lose their regular income as they fall ill with HIV and eventually die.  Also, the extended family, which was once the safety net for vulnerable children, is fast disintegrating because of poverty, high rates of unemployment, hyperinflation, urbanisation and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
As adults succumb slowly to the disease, their children are often being required to shoulder the huge responsibility for their care and that of young siblings. When parents fall sick, particularly in poor families, children come under intense stress that may continue in different ways for the rest of their childhood. They often take on a heavy burden of nursing for ailing parents, and may miss or drop out of school.  Orphans are less likely to be in school and more likely to fall behind or drop out, compromising their abilities and prospects.
Can you imagine an eleven-year old taking care of a four-year-old sister? Imagine what it feels like to never own a pair of shoes, not knowing where your next meal is coming from, bathing without soap, and no decent clothes? Today, in the western world, it’s easy to forget the less fortunate as we strive for computer games, fancy cars, designer clothes and plenty of food.
No matter the differences, we are inextricably linked by our common desire for peace and happiness. We cannot and should not wait for governments and politicians to make decisions, but as individuals we can and should make a difference.
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