BALTIMORE - World Relief runs AIDS Ministries that have been providing services through education, awareness programs, and prayer, helping people stop the spread of HIV. As World AIDS Day approaches World Relief is addressing the sad situation of the young caregivers of people with AIDS.
A child being a caregiver is very common in developing countries, especially Africa where AIDS is pandemic. In Africa, 6,500 people are dying every day because of AIDS. Experts say there are 10,400 new infections in Africa every day -- that's seven every minute.
World Relief reports that children are too weak to provide care for their family members who are dying because of AIDS. It could be overly challenging both emotionally and physically. But it is usually the case that the children are providing for their entire family and care for their dying parents at the same time. Having a child as a primary caregiver is unimaginable.
World Relief’s international director of HIV/AID programs, Debbie Dortzbach said, “In one Mozambican home World Relief is involved with, the grandmother, daughter and infant all died of AIDS, leaving a 10-year-old boy as the caregiver for himself, an infant and a toddler.”
According to the UNAIDS, nearly 29 million people have died of AIDS while another 42 million are currently living with the disease—3.2 million are children younger than 15. In its wake, AIDS has left 13.4 million children with one or no parents.
Dortzbach explains that working as an HIV/AIDS caregiver can be like navigating in a dense fog with no end in sight—a constant struggle with hopelessness from watching people die everyday.
“Perhaps the most challenging aspect of working with AIDS is burnout; you’re in for the long haul in this work and it doesn’t get better,” said Dortzbach.
World Relief works together with local churches to provide resources to help through out the entire communities and provinces that are affected by AIDS.
World Relief is carrying out various services and programs helping people to change patterns of unhealthy sexual behavior by explaining them God’s design of a faithful relationship between married couples and teaching them how to care for those who are infected with AIDS.
They not only provide AIDS education but they also provide employment opportunities and counseling for AIDS sufferer as well as their families.
Through such programs AIDS sufferers are seeing the love of Christ in action -- and many are receiving the hope of eternal life as they come to Jesus.