HIV/AIDS has afflicted a terrible toll on children and their families. According to USAID, an estimated 17 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Ninety percent of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, 3.4 million children in the same region under age 15 are living with HIV/AIDS.
The civil war in the DRC is directly associated with an increase in HIV/AIDS transmission. The association of war and disease substantially accounts for the presently observed geographical distribution of reported AIDS cases in the DRC. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is having a devastating impact in the loss of whole generations of people in various communities throughout the DRC. Children are the ones who feel the impact the greatest, with the loss of one or both parents. Although HIV/AIDS is but one cause of orphan hood it plays an ever increasing role in removing parents from their children.
Mwidia Wa Nday was only 2-years-old when she lost her father to AIDS, leaving her mother 6-months pregnant. Although Mwidia didn’t have AIDS, her baby sister was born HIV-positive. Three months later, her baby sister died of AIDS. Finally, she lost her mother to AIDS after another three months. Mwidia lost her entire family in a nine-month span.
With no extended family to care for Mwidia, her future looked bleak. A compassionate 60-year-old widow neighbor decided to take her in and care for her, though she herself was too poor to be able to care for both of them. She heard about The City of Refuge International and came with the baby to CORI’s office crying and imploring for help. When asked by CORI’s Field Director if she wanted to be Mwidia’s foster parent, she enthusiastically said, “Yes!” Now, Mwidia and her permanent foster mother receive nutritional assistance, medical care, mosquito nets, mattresses, and all the regular services offered to the children in our Child Sponsorship Program.
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