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Spotlight: World AIDS Orphans Day

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AIDS.  It’s a word we all know; the name of a pandemic that has affected adults and children all over the world and has become a major international issue in the last 30 years. 

A serious issue that has arisen from the spread of AIDS is the number of orphans who have lost parents to the disease, and who often suffer from the disease themselves. 

Monday May 7th was World AIDS Orphans Day. The day was organised by FXB International, and supported by many governments all over the world.  Charities involved in helping AIDS orphans also marked the day.  FXB International has marked World AIDS Orphans Day since 2002.   Today was not just a bank holiday, it was also World AIDS Orphans Day.    

The day aimed to raise awareness of the issues that affect children suffering from the affects of AIDS on their families and communities.  AIDS orphans are openly stigmatised.  They are vulnerable to the exploitation of forced labour and at risk of becoming street children, child soldiers and child prostitutes.  AIDS orphans are also at high risk of malnutrition and are likely to have no access to health-care and education.  Without basic human needs, no safety, and no hope, these children are in great need of help but less than 1 in 10 children get the external support they need.

The statistics are staggering.  According to UNAIDS, 16 million childrenare estimated to have lost one or both parents to AIDS therefore classifying them as orphans.  About 14.8 million of these orphans live in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNAIDS 2010).  Africa is well-known to suffer greatly from AIDS but it is believed that millions more AIDS orphans are unaccounted for in countries like India, China, Thailand and Russia. 

The tagline for World AIDS Orphans Day is, ‘Your voice is their future’.  It asks people to contact world leaders to encourage governments to help the fight against AIDS and protect AIDS orphans.  Fundraising events also took place across the world.  As students, we often don’t have enough money for our own bills let alone financially helping the many charities that deserve it.  However, ‘Your voice is their future’… let’s be aware and be vocal about issues affecting people in need.  AIDS orphans are a statistic in the millions, but they are also all individual children who must be remembered and helped.

For more information see their website: http://www.worldaidsorphans.org

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