AIDS is one of the worst threats that have thwarted humanity. In human knowledge, it has a short history; though its origin is possibly as old as humanity itself. Now in the 21st century, AIDS has become ever more terrifying in a different way than a medical condition: it is prowling on the lives of children. In her latest book AIDS Orphans Rising: What You Should Know and What You Can Do To Help Them Succeed (Loving Healing Press, December 2007), Sister Mary Elizabeth Lloyd alarms the readers with the frightening figures of the world’s minor population that is left orphan as AIDS continues to take their parents down. Every 14 seconds, such a tragedy occurs in some part of the world!
In many developing and poor countries, the death of both parents leaves the surviving children on their own. Thus a child headed household (CHH) is formed where the orphans, many of them under 9 years of age, have to work for their survival. Those who are not left a house by their parents have to live on the streets, beg for food, and are prone to falling into crime and prostitution in order to survive. The situation is assuming the status of a crisis in African countries, particularly in South Africa and Zambia, where the governments are economically too weak to support AIDS orphans. What do these helpless children do?
As Sister Mary Elizabeth explains in her book, viewing these children as totally helpless will not be so correct a view since these orphan kids have developed coping strategies of their own to ensure their survival. These range from menial labor to selling grains and nuts, and learning technical skills while continuing to go to school full time. Still, they are very much in need of help from grownups not only to live better but also for emotional support and the development of positive and fully functional personalities as they move into adulthood. Without help, they remain at a high risk of becoming a prey to exploitation and abuse.
How can the lives of these AIDS orphans be salvaged? Sister Mary Elizabeth provides a complete resource guide in AIDS Orphans Rising for the readers to help them play their role in helping the poor kids who have been left on their own in the struggle for survival. The Sister ad her team are working in various parts of the world to support AIDS orphans and their efforts make an instance of inspiration for all those who care to save human children from the claws of poverty and potential abuse. AIDS Orphans Rising is a major step in this direction.