Tag Archives: Disease

The Rampage of Disease

18 Jul

Blog post by Saundra P., Team Ethiopia 2012

An orphan is described as a vulnerable child under age 18 who has lost one or both parents. What would cause a child to lose their parents you ask? One orphan causing issue is diseases that lead to death like HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and water borne diseases. Many of these diseases are preventable.

HIV/AIDS is a worldwide epidemic, in which the largest cases, around 22.9 million, occur in Sub-Sahara Africa. AIDS is spread through child abduction, prostitution, and slavery. Orphans are especially vulnerable to contracting HIV/AIDS because they lack the basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. A desperate, abandoned child may turn to prostitution to provide for themselves. A poor, widowed mother may sell her child into slavery to provide for her other children.

Malaria is a disease we do not hear much about in the United States, largely because it was eliminated between 1947 and 1951. In developing countries, Malaria is a prevalent disease that puts 3.3 billion people at risk, which is about half the world’s population. About 90% of deaths caused by malaria occur in Africa among children who are less than five years of age.

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HIV/AIDS and the Orphan

26 Feb

Blog post by Laila B., Team Haiti 2012

It is estimated that more than 15 million children under 18 have been orphaned by AIDS. Every 15 seconds, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa.  Today alone, 5,760 children will lose a parent to AIDS.  Some countries are so negatively impacted by the epidemic that approximately 20 percent of all their children are orphans – the majority having been orphaned by AIDS.

Caring for HIV/AIDS orphans presents many unique challenges.  Even the best orphanages struggle to meet the physical needs of children with HIV/AIDS and cannot meet the emotional and spiri­tual needs. Institutions are not replacement for the structure of a family.

Inside institutions where there is little or no education children with HIV can be treated poorly by caretakers, even neglected. Often times sanitary conditions in orphanages are poor and exacerbate children’s weakened immune systems. Infections are common among children in orphanages and can quickly lead to death for children with HIV/AIDS. Simple antibiotics could prevent fatality in children with HIV/AIDS, yet often they are unavailable in developing countries.

Stigma is a another major challenge facing people infected with HIV/AIDS in the US and around the world. In the US families with adopted children who are HIV+ often suffer rejection within their communities and even among family members due to ignorance regarding transmission and stigma.

(adapted from www.projecthopeful.org)

Laila and her daughter will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with and others from their church in Evanston, IL.

AIDS Orphans: Overwhelming Statistics

23 Feb

Blog post by Wendy K, Team Haiti 2012

Looking through the lens of my mind’s eye, I see two children.
Two children separated by continents.

One sitting pretty clothed in family,
A backdrop of abundance….
A broad smile…
Eyes of hope…
A triumphant shout…
A life of promise.

The other –
Utterly alone.
A backdrop of empty…
A vacant look…
Eyes of misery…
A silent scream…
A life lost.

Two children made in God’s image, precious in His eyes, worthy of respect, dignity and a opportunity.  Two lives- one full of hope, the other hanging in the balance.  I ask myself what I would do if this was the plight of one of my children.  One life lost is tragic enough, but over 16 million children have been orphaned by AIDS.  14.8 million of these children live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Continue reading

HIV/AIDS and Its Effects on Orphans

18 Feb

Blog post by Melissa and Karis, Team Haiti 2012

How many kids with HIV/AIDS do you know that have been adopted? Do you know that a large portion of the world’s population does not have updated information on HIV/AIDS?  If the world was properly educated on HIV/AIDS, they would learn a person with this disease does not have a death sentence.  The truth is, “HIV is considered a chronic, but manageable disease with the proper treatment.”

Thanks to a nonprofit organization, Project Hopeful, we have learned the truth of this disease and God’s heart for these children.  If you’d like to learn more about how these children can live a normal life, with medication and a family to love them, visit http://www.projecthopeful.org.

I saw the effects of HIV/AIDS on orphans while in Jamaica recently.  We spoke with the head of adoption in Jamaica and asked about HIV orphans, like how many have been adopted.  Sadly, she said none.  This woman was asking us what the life span is for a child with HIV.  These orphans are in a remote area of Jamaica, at a special needs orphanage.  They are essentially put in a “back room”.  HIV is so widespread there due to rampant drug use. These children are outcasts; they may not even be educated on their disease. They may have no hope.  This is wrong.  God has plans for these children, other than never seeing anything besides a “back room.”

Melissa and daughter, Karis, will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with and others from their church in Evanston, IL.

Sweetly Broken – Reflections on my Journey to Haiti

2 Jun

Jeni reflects on her recent Journey 117 trip to Haiti in May 2011. To read more of her blog, check out http://sweetlybroken-jenileeann.blogspot.com/

I have been meaning to blog about my journey to Haiti and the amazing ways that God moved in my heart through this trip. I have had a very hard time coming up with the words. But since I have been asked to speak at 3 local churches, I figured it was time to put words to this journey. Praise God that I will bring Him more glory as I share.

I could not have known how God would allow me to be broken when I started on this journey last fall. I knew it would be big, because as I planned and counted the days, trips were never for sure and were postponed. I kept saying, “In God’s time.” I knew in my heart I would get there EXACTLY when He wanted.

I was incredibly sad that I was not able to go in December, but now I see so clearly that He had a greater plan. I ended up going on a Journey 117 trip with World Orphans, totally different than the original trip. It is a journey that is designed to educate you on orphan care and how God wants to use you to bring justice to the least of these. Continue reading

They did not get to choose….

1 Jun

Blog post by Stephanie J, Team Uganda 2011

They did not get to choose….

They did not get to chose to watch their parents die a slow a painful death.  They did not get a choice in becoming an orphan.  Their childhood has been stolen from them.  These children orphaned by AIDS do not have a voice loud enough or strength strong enough to fight for themselves but we do!

UNICEF 2009 statistics estimate that 1.2 million children (0-17 years) in Uganda have been left orphaned due to the AIDS.  UNAIDS 2007 statistics estimate that 12 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa have lost one or both of there parents to AIDS.  AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa account for 37% of parental loss from all causes (Richter, 2008; UNAIDS, 2008*) [1]

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Coping with Tragedy in Haiti: Losing a Child

29 May

Lauren, a recent nursing graduate from Texas, shares about a traumatic loss during a  Journey 117 trip to Haiti in May 2011. To read more of Lauren’s blog, check out http://chosenbyyou.blogspot.com/

Are they just a number?

It has been almost a week since I have been back from Haiti and it has been an emotional roller coaster. Each day I wake up and with each memory I hold onto, I still try to process it all. Here, I want to begin by re-telling some of the life-changing stories that happened while in Haiti.

At the beginning of the week, my team and I experienced a traumatic passing of an infant that cut down deep within me but changed my life forever. Bear with me as I try to vividly re-tell the story. On Monday, we had the opportunity to visit a home for dying and abandoned babies. When I first heard of this home, I was so excited and I couldn’t wait to go and hold, feed, and bathe babies, but I did not fully understand the heart-wrenching sights that I was about to see. When we arrived and I stepped foot into this home, my heart immediately dropped and I fought tears like never before. Wiping my face with the sleeve of my arm, I made my way down the stairs and before me were rows and rows of cribs filled with sick and dying infants. I cannot express to you in words how many there were; row after row and room after room. As I looked, these infants didn’t even seem to have an identity; their bed was labeled with a number. As I tried to process this scene, my mind began to think, “Are theses infants just a number here?? Is this real??” Inside, my heart was screaming as I looked at each infant. Even though they couldn’t’ understand, I told them, you matter. You are not just a number to Christ. He cares for you. He knew you even before you were formed in your mother’s womb. He loves you so much. This pain will end soon. Hold on little one. I was angry and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I walked through the row of cribs and touched each tiny little hand that reached out for me, starving for love, and begging me to pick them up. I immediately scooped up a sweet baby girl and as soon as she was in my arms, she stopped crying and her head laid on my chest. Again, I fought tears. I looked at her face to find that she had a severe eye infection. It was oozing and she looked as if she was in a lot of pain. She felt warm to touch and I’m sure was suffering from an infection that her little body couldn’t fight. In my mind, I began to think back to my hospital at home and the place where I would work. If I were to hold an infant like this in the states I would be gowned, gloved, and with a facemask on for protection from any type of disease, but with this little girl in my arms, I didn’t care. I stroked her head as she laid on my chest. I went to the side room and prayed over her as two of my other teammates gathered around with their sweet infants. Tears fell. My heart was broken and I couldn’t understand. Time passed and I held this little girl, trying to get every spoonful of food I could down here; her belly was huge (protein deficiency) but her arms and legs were so skinny; she was greatly malnourished. It was time for their nap around noon and as I placed her back in her crib, she cried and cried. I picked her back up and she stopped, as peaceful as she could be as long as she was in the warmth of my arms. I had to put her down, telling myself that I could get her again after her nap. We left the room and let the children sleep while we visited another orphanage for a few hours.

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