Swaziland, Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world with over 42% of the population HIV-positive. HIV related deaths have caused over 120,000 orphans in a tiny country the size of New Jersey. The number of children needing care has exceeded the number of caregivers creating a phenomenon of child-headed households that are particularly alarming with heads of households as young as 12 years old. These children face daily struggles pertaining to nutrition, education, safety, and vocational training.
Providing orphans with a sustainable food source that is key for their survival. ✴ FOODOM feeding program offers daily lunches to 1,259 children in addition to offering emergency food packs periodically to child-headed households. ✴ Planting avocado and other fruit-bearing trees at child-headed homes provides a nutritious sustainable food source. ✴ eLangeni Secondary School Agriculture program now offers fresh vegetables grown on our own plot of GHFP land at the school to supplement our school lunch program. There is even a surplus to offer a monthly supply of vegetables to our child-headed families.
Supporting education which is proven to be the most successful way out of poverty. ✴ Educational scholarships to 19 orphans of child-headed households - education in Swaziland costs close to $450 a year per student for secondary school and $350 for primary school. ✴ eLangeni Primary Children's Library offers 4, double sided, 1.5 meter bookshelves filled with books for all ages. We also created a reading area with a large carpet, painted lettering, pillows, and stuffed animals. ✴ eLangeni Primary School Sanitation/Hygiene program will provide the 634 students with 8 new pit latrines, a water tap, and hand-washing station to alleviate the current public health due to their overflowing latrines. ✴ GHFP is building our own rural primary school to support orphans of Malindza and Mafutseni communities. The nearest school is currently over 20km away, so the orphaned kids of these villages lack access to education. In January 2014, we will have structures for grades 1 and 2 built and ready for 60 orphaned students.
Safety is important since orphans are often victimized. ✴ GHFP’s solar energy program brings light to child-headed households to support evening studying and deter predators. ✴ GHFP's Cell Phone program allows all of our child-headed households to have a means to contact our Swazi program coordinator in case of an emergency situation.
Opportunities to gain the technological skills required for almost any 21st century career. ✴ We installed a computer lab complete with laptops and desktops at a rural primary school complete with electrical wiring and educational software - offering 629 students access to technology and an opportunity to learn basic computer skills.
These orphaned and vulnerable children represent the future of their nations but are also the largest “at-risk” population. If HIV/AIDS is to be eradicated, they are the key to any sustainable solution.
Give Hope, Fight Poverty realizes that educating, nurturing, and empowering them will produce a generation of change-agents for a brighter tomorrow.