Thursday, June 16, 2011

AFRICA: ETHIOPIA: MILLIONS OF ORPHANS IN NEED DUE TO HIV/AIDS

Fides Service REPORT - Millions of Ethiopians who look after the orphans in a country where, in May, annual inflation exceeded 34%, are forced to sell their belongings or to send the children to beg. Fortunately a project that will assist thousands of families who take care of about 500 000 Ethiopian children orphaned, infected with HIV / AIDS, every year for the next 5 years has just been approved. The project was officially launched in May and is funded by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and will be realized by the U.S. Agency for International Development and its partners, including FAO, the International NGO Pact and 50 other local NGOs. According to official estimates, there are 5.5 million orphans in Ethiopia, nearly 15% of the children in the country. About 800 000 of them have lost one or both parents due to illnesses related to AIDS. A survey carried out in 2010 shows that out of 334 families who take care of orphans in the southern regions of Ethiopia, at least 22% of these are involved in child labor activities, and families are often forced to sell land, pets and electrical household appliances in order to feed their families. "This program is designed to offer various services, including food, health, education, psychological, legal support, housing and so on", said Walelign Mehretu, advisor to the USAID program in Ethiopia aimed at orphans and vulnerable children. (PA)

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