Most orphans who become head of households lost their parents to genocide or HIV/AIDS. They watched their parents suffer and then in many cases buried them. The oldest (oldest being under the age of 18) of the children are left to care for the younger ones—often with four or five of them in a family.
Fifty percent of these children are between the age of 10-14 years old. They frequently encounter illnesses and their mortality rates are high. Many of them don’t even get enough food to eat, let alone medical care, schooling or adult guidance. Many of the children resort to begging and the girls….well, you’ve already figured it out haven’t you?…..They resort to prostitution. Many, too many of them, are not living with relatives. They are on their own—often living beneath tarps, in run-down buildings and even sewers.
After reading these statistics from Sister Mary Elizabeth Lloyd’s well researched book, “AIDS Orphans Rising,” I now find myself having a very different perspective about my own life. My problems look miniscule compared to what these children face. I find myself complaining less and instead, becoming very grateful for the blessed life I enjoy. Then I take my challenge and offer it as a prayer for a child who really does have serious challenges.
What is most touching about these children is their desire to stay together. They do so with great perseverance, commitment, creativity and I understand, even joy!
Imagine living with hope and laughter in circumstances you or I can barely comprehend.
These children deserve our support. If we want the best for them, they need to know we love them and have faith in their strengths. And that we can hold for them through our prayers and meditation. Please join us for the Fire Meditations during the next few months as we focus our attention and love on the children of our planet who need our love. Or find a quiet moment alone to offer a private prayer.
If you are really motivated, check out this web site and put your prayers into loving action: http://www.marshallulrich.com/fundraising.html