New Program Targets Schools, Churches To Assist AIDS Orphans

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AIDS and HIV Help

U.S. Peace Corps in Swaziland Helps Create "Young Heroes"

Swaziland's National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA) today announced the inauguration of Young Heroes, a program through which Americans and others overseas can sponsor orphan families with monthly donations for food and clothing. The Internet-based program can be found at


With 42.6% of adults (age 15-49) infected, Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV in the world. UNICEF estimates that some 70,000 children in the country's population of one million have already lost at least one parent, and that nearly 15,000 now live in child-headed households. Orphans who have caretakers usually live with a grandparent or other elderly relatives who are often past of the age of being able to work.

Speaking in the capital city of Mbabane, NERCHA Director Dr. Derek von Wissell said, "Our greatest desire is to encourage young people with advantages to help their peers who have little or nothing. AIDS is creating a generation of orphans in Swaziland, and they are in desperate need of the most basic fundamentals of survival.

"We welcome everyone as sponsors, including adults. But our primary goal is to motivate youth as individuals and in groups such as classes, schools, church groups, Scout troops and


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