This is a short piece from Breath of Heaven’s (BoH) website on the crisis in Zambia Africa. It’s super informative and does a great job at introducing the horrific truth about HIV and the number of orphans in Lusaka, Zambia.
Sub-Saharan Africa faces an ongoing humanitarian crisis due to the HIV/AIDS endemic, malaria, and drought. In Africa, AIDS alone has taken more than 20 million lives and some 15 million children have been orphaned.
In “Urgent Action for Children on the Brink,” Carol Bellang, executive Director of UNICEF, stated: “The silence that surrounds children affected by HIV/AIDS, and the inaction that results, is morally reprehensible and unacceptable. If this situation is not addressed–and not addressed now with increased urgency–millions of children will continue to die, and tens of millions more will be further marginalized, stigmatized, malnourished, uneducated and psychologically damaged.”
Zambia has been particularly hard-hit. AIDS has left nearly one-and-one-half million children without one or both parents, resulting in many households being headed-up by children. Households without parents are especially vulnerable to swelling the growing number of street children. Once committed to the streets, a child’s chance of ever escaping a life of desperation to become a productive member of society is slim.
Zambia is, today, one of the poorest and least developed nations on earth. About two-thirds of the population lives on less than $1 US a day. Life-expectancy at birth, once only 35 years of age at the turn of the 21st century, has increased somewhat to the early-50s. Nonetheless, the growing number of Zambian orphans, by some estimates, has surpassed one million. Thousands of children are living in the streets of its capital, Lusaka, giving Zambia one of the highest populations of street children, per capita, in the world.