Examining Project To Help AIDS Orphans, Grandmothers In Kenya

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Reuterson Wednesday profiled a project called the Stara School in the Kenyanslum of Kibera that works with AIDS orphans and their grandmothers, whooften are left to take care of the children when their parents die. Atleast 12 million children in Africa have lost one or both parents toAIDS-related illnesses, according to United Nations figures. The numberof orphans in Africa is expected to total 53 million by 2010, about 30%of whom will be AIDS orphans.

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The Stara School -- supported by ChildsLife International, the World Food Programme and Feed the Children-- was launched seven years ago by a group of women in Kibera afterfriends died and left them to take care of their children. The schoolhouses and feeds more than 500 children, and 70% of them are orphans.Many grandmothers come to Stara twice weekly to clean, and theirgrandchildren are able to attend the school. The premises are small,and classes often hold up to 80 children of several ages, according to Reuters.More than 30 of the children are HIV-positive and receiveantiretroviral drugs -- which are supplied by vouchers from the school-- at a local clinic.

According to Reuters,grandmothers and projects such as Stara prevent many orphans in Kiberaand elsewhere from living on the street or becoming involved incommercial sex work. Former first lady Barbara Bush, actress DrewBarrymore and singer Harry Belafonte are among those who have supportedthe school (Moody, Reuters, 11/28).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report ispublished for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser FamilyFoundation.

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