"I've met too many brave and beautiful children who are struggling to care for their sick parents or their orphaned brothers and sisters" - Lucy Liu
The AIDS epidemic began over 25 years ago, and the disease continues to prey upon millions of children around the world. This drives poor people even deeper into poverty, depriving families of the young adults who are their most productive members.
This disease affects non-infected children as well. Hundreds of thousands of children are orphaned after losing one or both parents to AIDS and grow up in communities overwhelmed by the disease. These hungry & desperate children become very detached and withdrawn with low self-esteem and low self-confidence.
One of the things that really give us hope here at the Institute for Global Outreach (IGO) is when we see children first in their worst conditions and then see them after sponsorship.
This is evidence that our work and efforts are making a difference. For most of these children, the progress is rapid, which is reassurance that all that we contribute is utilized to the fullest.
For example Baby Taye and his sister Neba became a part of IGO's sponsorship program in November of 2013. Their father died from AIDS, their mother was ill due to complications from the disease and both of the children are HIV positive. Upon seeing this baby boy for the first time, it was clear that he was starving, extremely malnourished and living under very impoverished conditions, I felt that if immediate action wasn't taken, he would not have survived. He was 15 months old, yet the size of a very frail 6 month old. He had scabs and little sores all over his head and his color was extremely pale. He was very weak, scared and could barely muster up the sound of a faint baby's cry.
Immediately following our visit to Africa, we began sponsorship for this Baby Taye & Neba. Since the utmost concern was his survival, he was taken to the local clinic for emergency nourishment.
In less than 2 months, Taye could stand & make a few steps, his natural color was returning & his hair was growing rapidly. Two years later he & his sister Neba continue to thrive. The dramatic change in these children is why we must continue our life saving work. We truly believe the HIV virus is a medical condition not a death sentence.