Tag Archives: HIV/AIDS

A Closer Look at Human Trafficking

3 Oct

Guest blog post by Katy P., Team Haiti 2012

Parents, imagine having to sell your child for food or to get out of poverty. Imagine your child being taken by either someone you know or a stranger and forced into doing unimaginable things that are pornographic, or in human trafficking, etc. I know this is hard to imagine or even think that this would happen to your child, but unfortunately this happens every day to millions of children all over the world.

Human trafficking has been described as: the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons: by the threat or use of kidnapping, force , fraud, deception or coercion, or by the giving or receiving of unlawful payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, and for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children can take many forms and include forcing a child into prostitution or other forms of sexual activity or child pornography. Child exploitation can also include forced labor or services, slavery, servitude, the removal of organs, illicit international adoption, trafficking for early marriage, recruitment as child soldiers, for use in begging, or for recruitment for cults.

When people think of traffickers, they normally think of strangers, and most of the time it is strangers, but other times it is a family member or a neighbor.  Many parents, especially in poor countries, sell their children to pay off debts or gain an income, or they may be deceived concerning the prospects of training or a better life for their children.  They may sell their children for labor, sex trafficking or illegal adoptions.  Unfortunately, victims of trafficking are later used to traffic other women and children, because that is all they know how to do. Continue reading

Pondering the Word ‘Orphan’

19 Sep

Blog post by Katy P., Team Haiti 2012

When I think of the word ‘orphan’, there are a lot of words that come to mind. Two of the dominate words are: starving and parent-less. There are a lot of orphans that are starving and have no parents, but there are also orphans who have to deal with much more terrifying and deadly things than that. Poverty, child labor, HIV/AIDS, sex trafficking, etc. are not the first things that come to mind when I think of orphans….but they should be.

Knowing that children all over the world face these kinds of terrible things makes me want to help them in any way possible. One of the reasons I am going on this trip to Haiti is to see firsthand what these kids go through on a regular basis. I want to be able to come back with a better understanding and know how to tell others what is going on and how they can help. I not only want to help with their everyday needs of clothing, food, and supplies, I want them to know that there is a loving, caring God who loves them unconditionally. He will be there no matter what happens in their lives.

On my first trip to Russia, I got to work with orphans. At one of the orphanages there were rooms with babies who never got held; they were fed by their bottles being propped up by pillows and they lay in their cribs all day staring at the ceiling. There was another room with kids that were disabled; they had all kinds of toys, but they were not allowed  to go anywhere because of their disability. In that room there was one little girl who had no legs, so she would scoot to me using her arms.  She was so happy. Another boy had no arms or legs, so he would roll to me. Still there were other rooms I could not go into because those were the rooms with the “sick” kids. I was never told what the symptoms were; all they could tell me was that the kids were very “sick.” Seeing and hearing all they went through really got to me and broke my heart. It got me thinking of what I could do and how I could tell others about how they could also help.

I realized that I am happiest when I am helping someone else. Whether it be somewhere in another country or right next door, I love working with kids. I can walk into a restaurant, store, church and anywhere else, and have a child smile or wave to me and it makes my day. I love to smile or wave back and to know that my smile or wave has made their day. It is one of the best feelings in the world.

A lot of people ask me “Why Haiti” and I honestly don’t know how to answer them. God has opened this door for me and I am going to step through it. Although I don’t know what is going to happen on this trip, I know that God has it under control, and I can’t wait to see how God is going to use me for His glory.

Katy resides in Oneida, KY and will be serving with Journey 117 in October on Team Haiti.

The Lord Will Answer Them

23 Jul

Blog post by Erin B., Team India 2012

Have you ever experienced what it is like to live in a trash dump? I haven’t and don’t want to imagine having to live that way but I have seen it first hand in Uruguay, South America. It breaks my heart to see the elderly, 4 year olds, and entire families digging through trash together to see if they can find something to sell so they will have food to eat or money to survive on. To me, looking out over a trash dump with humanity wandering about it screams of hopelessness, lack of joy, and desperation. It looks like death. The landscape is bleak. Poverty is a huge problem worldwide. The bible says that we will always have the poor among us in Matthew 26:11, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” God’s heart is to answer the poor as Isaiah 41:17 says: The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” God promises He will not forsake the poor and needy.

Orphans are impacted in a great way by poverty. Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa. Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans. Every YEAR, 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone). 143,000,000 Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home. Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but… Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of the system. Every DAY 38,493 children age out. Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home (http://thirdworldorphans.org/gpage39.html). Having orphans in the world promotes poverty because orphans lack the resources they need to have good health care, nutrition, and protection. If poverty is dealt with, there will be fewer orphans because parents will live longer due to less disease and hunger. Orphans will also have better care if they are not living in extreme poverty.  Continue reading

Just as My Children…

19 Jul

Blog post by Gemma C., Team Ethiopia 2012

Over the years I have read papers and books, watched movies and documentaries, sat in lectures, and heard many news reports telling of the many terrible things that people all over the world have to endure, day after day. There is poverty, lack of access to clean water, child labor, child soldiering, HIV/AIDS, so many factors contributing to the orphan crisis. Each of these is so difficult to think about, and so hard to understand why so many have to deal with it, but the one which inevitably hits me the most is child prostitution and child sex-trafficking. I took a little wander around the Web this evening, and 15 minutes into the stories and statistics of children abducted, put on menus and sold for sex, and I am just sick again at the realization of what goes on, and the prevalence of it.

This blog post is supposed to share statistics, quotes, stories and information to open your eyes to the reality of child sex-trafficking and exploitation. I have been staring at this screen for an hour now, my mind is reeling, and I don’t even know where to start. The statistics are easy to find, websites www.love146.org, www.sctnow.org and www.stopdemand.org are just a few out there. The sad reality is that twice while I was researching, a link for a webpage or a video was wrong, and the default pages that showed up were advertisements for prostitution and pornography. How twisted is that? Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Back to Ethiopia

26 Jun
Blog post by Leah G., Team Ethiopia 2012
Last summer, I was trying to find an organization that was doing a mission trip that I could go on. I didn’t end up finding any that would work out for me so I just kind of gave up. There was a group of ladies from the church going to Ethiopia and they asked me to go with them. One of the organizations we visited was World Orphans. We went to visit some of the families that were part of the home-based care program. Their houses were in terrible condition and their floors were all muddy. One little boy we visited sang for us and it was the sweetest thing. He and his mother were both HIV positive and his father had died from AIDS. It was really sad and didn’t seem fair. We also visited a school that they had and they washed our feet. (Which were super muddy from walking through a muddy field.) It was very humbling. During the trip we visited a bunch of other organizations that worked with orphans. At the end of the trip I didn’t want to come home.
When I got home and went back to school, we started planning a school trip to go back to Ethiopia. I was so excited. That’s when I heard about Journey 117, our principal told us that was the organization we would be going with when we went. It was even cooler to find out that it was one I had visited in the summer. When I think of Ethiopia the things that come to mind are the kid’s faces and how happy they were. I can’t wait to go this year and see more smiling faces.
Leah resides in Canada and will be serving with Journey117 in July on Team Ethiopia.

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.

How Much is a Child Worth?

24 Feb

Blog post by Keren C, Team Haiti 2012

$32 BILLION ….that’s how much money is spent worldwide selling humans into slavery and sexual bondage PER YEAR!  That’s more than Nike, Google and Starbucks COMBINED!!

2 Million….that’s approximately how many children are being abused in the commercial sex industry PER YEAR!

So many countries are filled with corruption.  There is no one to stand for the injustice that is happening to these children.   Many are raped and abused and NO ONE does anything about it.  These children often grow up with AIDS or having lived a life of poverty and abuse find themselves giving their lives up to prostitution.

What are you willing to give to help end this and give a child hope rather than a lifetime of horror and abuse?  Your time?  Your money?  Your comfort?

What is their worth to you?

The Starfish Parable:

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”. The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “It made a difference to that one!”

It starts with one…when we make a difference in the life of one orphan…it is one less child being abused, one less child who will grow up into prostitution…ONE LESS!

Take action!  Get involved!  Be the voice of the orphaned…
VISIT, ADOPT, GIVE, LISTEN….it’s time for us to take action.

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

World Orphans Starfish Story from World Orphans.


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.