HOW YOU CAN HELP
On-Line resources, links and foundations
Life in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is brutally difficult for parents and children. Orphaned children are far less likely to attend school, to be immunized, to eat healthy food, even to grow up: the mortality rate of children under five spikes when their parents are gone.
But, there is hope. There are organizations importing the life-saving drugs into Africa, helping to create healthcare infrastructure, and improving the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in countless ways. Here are just a few I admire:
Worldwide Orphans Foundation [WWO]
Yohannes holds a photo of himself from just six weeks earlier, before WWO started his anti-AIDS medications.
WWO, under the leadership of founding director Dr. Jane Aronson, transforms the lives of orphaned, vulnerable, ill, and/or institutionalized children in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Serbia, Vietnam, and, increasingly, Haiti. From life-saving medication, to nanny programs, to schools, summer camps, and the arts, WWO nurtures children’s bodies, spirits, and dreams.
AHOPE for Children
One of the first homes dedicated to HIV-positive orphans in Ethiopia, AHOPE has become a model orphanage, brimming with happy children, art projects, song-fests, soccer teams, and drama workshop. Individual sponsorships of children are welcomed, and AAI (Adoption Advocates International) coordinates adoptions for AHOPE children to America.
The Stephen Lewis Foundation
The Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF), which has lent support to 300 programs in 15 countries, reaches out especially to vulnerable children, destitute women, and heroic grandmothers left with the task of raising dozens of orphaned grandchildren. It works in the frontlines of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In 1998, Ethiopian-American children’s librarian Yohannes Gebregiorgis flew from his home in San Francisco with the gift of 10,000 children’s books from the San Francisco Public Library to fulfill his dream of bringing children’s literature to the children of Ethiopia. In a land where adult non-literacy nears 60 percent, Ato [Mr.] Yohannes opened the first free public children’s libraries in the country, the first school libraries in the country, and the first Donkey Bookmobile in the world. In April 2007, I spent a week with Yohannes and his enthusiastic young volunteers, and I walked about with the Donkey Bookmobile and wrote about it for GOOD HOUSEKEEPING. They are changing children’s lives one book at a time. Voice of America recently created a video of the Donkey Mobile Library.
The Task Force for Global Health
Brilliant, dedicated, globe-trotting Atlanta-based team of medical professionals campaign against polio, malaria, river blindness, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, injuries, and violence.
The Global Fund
The single most important weapon in the war against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, which together kill over 6 million people a year. Underfunded by the affluent nations. Worthy of any contribution you can give.