What Causes Children To Be Orphaned & What Follows After The Loss Of Parents.

In Tanzania, an estimated 1,300,000 children are orphans due to HIV. They have lost either one or both of their parents because of the disease. Africa accounts for only one-tenth of the global population but for nine out of ten new cases of HIV infections. At 5.6 per cent, Tanzania is marked by a comparatively high HIV prevalence rate. Approximately 1,400,000 Tanzanians are living with HIV/AIDS and 250,000 of them are children under 14 years of age. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is therefore considered one of Tanzania’s most striking health problems. It deeply hinders socio-economic development in the country. The disease affects the food security of thousands of families, particularly in rural settings. When the head of the family falls ill, other family members – often young children – have to engage in labour activities so that they can help their family survive.

Due to AIDS, the number of child-headed households in Tanzania has increased significantly in recent years. Growing up without a family or in a dysfunctional family environment often has serious implications on a child’s mental and physical development. Many orphaned children experience neglect and discrimination. Children who grow up without parental care often do not attend school. Sexual violence against orphaned children is a

serious concern in Tanzania. According to the WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence, 11% of women reported sexual abuse before the age of 15 (WHO, 2005). Another shocking study done by The Oak Foundation revealed that orphaned children can be so traumatized by their environment, they do not even know what is socially acceptable. 68% of adolescents in the study mentioned that they think it is okay for them to be asked to have sex with a relative in exchange for money or a gift. These statistics are for both male and female adolescents. (Oak, 2019). Orphans and street children are also at a higher risk of being subject to violence which can include emotional, physical and reproductive health problems, lack of access to food, shelter and education. Street children reported having been significantly more violated and abused. These incredibly shocking and terrifying realities can be completely abolished by the safe haven we provide at Kukua. The children at our facilities are all given access to education and all the necessities needed for schooling (uniforms, notebooks, transportation etc). Beyond the mere necessities, our children are also part of a family when they are with us. Birthday parties are never missed, something which most orphaned children in Tanzania never thought they would have. Religious holidays are celebrated with feasts and treats. Of course, the children are also fans of movie nights which they enjoy regularly! Our goal has never been to give children the mere necessities, we want to give them the experience of a family setting. A place where they can grow mentally as

well as academically. It’s not enough to provide shelter, we want to provide a way for our children to become self-sufficient and self-reliant; to destroy generational poverty in its tracks! Join us and help us save not only lives but entire generations!

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