Google alerts – AIDS orphans 1

by sandy on June 7, 2010

Getting google alerts for a particular keyword is a trick we were taught in one of the internet marketing seminars I attended. At the time, it was suggested that it was an essential tool to find out what your competition was up to.

In this case, it is much less commerical and more to celebrate how many people are out there acting in some way, as we do, to raise awareness of the plight of so many millions of suffering orphans in the world today.

You might be greatly buoyed by the depth and breadth of the organisations, individuals and activities involved, so many of whom are tackling this immense world social issue with great energy, so I thought to select stories to share with you in regular updates.

Unchained Sorrow: Jonie writes she was, “housebound for a year and forced to sit back and think about her priorities and aims in life . . .” during which time, “the internet became a window to the world.” As part of that, she wished to: “express the issues that filled my heart with pain, and to give a voice to those who suffer, especially children.” Jonie has written a detailed article about the issue of the orphans in Africa.

The map is dated 1997-98 and is sadly reflective of how much greater the issue has become in just 12 years, in South africa from 180,000 to 1.4 million (as of 2007) and in Zimbabwe 360,000 to 800,000.

The map made me reflect. How many of those children could we have saved from being orphaned, if we had the voice then to lobby governments for anti-retroviral therapy to stop transmission from pregnant mothers to their unborn children? How many can we save in the future? It is estimated in South Africa alone that there are 70,000 children born a year infected by HIV AIDS.

What can we do to lobby governments? That is a question we can discuss on the forum and perhaps come up with ideas that will enable us to keep on making a difference.

Twesigye Jackson Kaguri’s is a Ugandan who gave away his American Dream to return to his village Nyakagyez. At the urgent request of his grandmothers to do something to help, he and his American born wife, diverted the down payment they were to have made on their house into building a free school for the orphans of his village.

Once back in America he raised additional funds to compete the school in 2003. In addition the children who attend are provided a meal and clean water. By 2009 all 26 sixth graders who graduated got a B+ or better in the national tests. He has now started a second school and opened a library for all local residents.

I loved his comment: “Many people look at the problem and how big the numbers are and are overwhelmed,” he says. “But for me, I was born stubborn.”

A fifty year old woman, Lisa Smith Batchen is running 50 miles in 50 states of America in two months to raise $1 million and awareness of children who are orphaned both in America and overseas. She will sharing the proceeds of her fund raising to three charities who attend to the needs of orphaned children.

Each story here carries with it the message of great hope. As individuals we can empower ourselves to make a difference. Because Jonie put up that map, I found myself thinking differently. Now some of us will engage in a new conversation about what we can do. Another stone in another pond – and in time the ripples will continue to change the way we think and how we act to help these children.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kendall Davis, Volunteer Assistant, Food for Orphans June 8, 2010 at 15:36

I am so glad there are so many organizations out there who share a passion for orphans! Thanks for all the great work you do!

Dawne Smith-Sliming June 8, 2010 at 16:41

I am delighted that you have shared and will continue to share such uplifting stories. It has been my opinion for some time that Patience is not the only virtue we should pursue. Hope is that oft ellusive quality that we truly cannot live without.

Thank you so much for these great summaries and the links. My personal favourite is, of course, “But for me, I was born stubborn”. Determination is on the other side of the coin, isn’t it?

Zanny June 9, 2010 at 01:49

I agree Dawn – Jackson Kaguri’s strong statement ” But for me, I was born stubborn. Determination is on the other side of the coin isn’t it?” and yes Dawn, patience, patience, patience. With such virtues being practiced so will KAS’s ongoing growth continue.

sandy June 9, 2010 at 04:54

What a great organization you work for Kendall. Thank you for pointing us in your direction – I read your website with humility. And was reminded of this truly staggering statistic – 42,000 orphans everyday world wide. We are greatly confronted by the idea that there are 500 children a day orphaned in South Africa. 42,000 a day worldwide is just dire.

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