Tuesday, May 5, 2009

World AIDS Orphans Day

May 7th is the seventh annual World AIDS Orphans Day. There are various events occurring around the world to commemorate the day and call attention to the plight of the millions of children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic each year. Here is some information from www.worldaidsorphansday.org:

"May 7th is World AIDS Orphans Day, a grassroots campaign to draw attention to and advocate on behalf of the over 15 million children orphaned by AIDS.
Today, a diverse coalition of organizations, government officials and everyday citizens is urging the G8 and donor governments to ensure that 10% of all HIV and AIDS funding supports the needs of orphans and vulnerable children.

Over 15 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents to AIDS – equivalent to the number of people living in New York, Paris, and Bangkok combined. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, over 12 million children have been orphaned by the pandemic.
Experts believe that millions more orphans remain unaccounted for in India, China and Russia.
By 2010, the number of AIDS orphans worldwide is expected to reach at least 20 million.

The Impact:
In addition to the trauma of losing a parent, orphans are often subject to discrimination and are less likely to receive healthcare, education and other needed services.
In HIV affected households lacking community support, food consumption can drop by 40% putting children at risk to hunger, malnutrition and stunting.
Impoverished and often without support to educate and protect them, orphans and vulnerable children face increased risk of HIV infection.
Orphans are often easy prey to many forms of exploitation: forced labor, prostitution and child soldiering.

We are Neglecting the Needs of 90% of Orphans!
Despite progress preventing and treating AIDS, we are ignoring the basic needs of millions of AIDS orphans. UNAIDS estimates that over US $4 billion is needed to implement a comprehensive response to AIDS orphans and vulnerable children over the next two years, but much less than this amount is actually available.
As a result of this funding gap, fewer than one in ten AIDS orphans receive external support. Millions of children are growing up deprived of education, basic needs such as food, water and shelter; and are at high risk of HIV infection, discrimination, exploitation and violence in the form of forced labor, prostitution and drug trafficking. By 2010, another estimated five to ten million children will have lost at least one parent from AIDS.
Only three countries – the US, UK and Ireland have earmarks providing at least 10% of HIV/AIDS funding to orphans and vulnerable children. Yet experts believe that these promises and legislation are unfulfilled as they meander through government bureaucracy. We must hold leaders and policy makers accountable to their promises. We must advocate for more governments to follow their lead.


With adequate funding, the world can help children orphaned by AIDS to grow up healthy and safe. We can address the challenges presented by the AIDS orphans crisis through:

  • Support to families and communities that serve as the safety net for AIDS orphans.
  • Access to education, health and nutrition for orphans and children affected by AIDS.
  • Job training and livelihood support to give young people the skills necessary to enter the workforce and to become productive members of their community.
  • Social protection laws that promote and enforce inheritance and other legal rights for orphans must be in place.
  • Treatment for HIV positive children that is provided with special consideration for the physical, psychological, and social needs of a child living with HIV.

We need your help to speak out and spread the word about World AIDS Orphans Day. Your voice is their future.

Speak up for orphans. It’s easy to get involved.
Add your pictures onto the map. Lobby world leaders. Attend or host an event. Generate press coverage about the orphans crisis. Spread the word. Donate."

Below is another link from the website that contains, among other things, a toolkit with sample letters, relevant links, and other info:


In whatever manner, however small, that we can rally support for attention for this cause, let's do so. Let's do it for our kids! Let's do it NOW!

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