25 November 2008

SOS Children's Villages Continues the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

SOS Child
Download the SOS Children's Villages HIV/AIDS policy paper. (pdf)

November 25, 2008: SOS Children's Villages, the world's largest non-governmental organization dedicated to orphaned and abandoned children, believes that AIDS is a preventable disease.

SOS is committed to maintaining supportive and healthy environments that reduce the vulnerability of children and their care-givers to HIV infection. SOS creates and sustains programs that enable children orphaned by AIDS to grow up in a caring family, and provide them with equal access to education and essential services.

In October 2008, SOS issued a formal HIV/AIDS policy, which states:

We believe that AIDS is a preventable disease and thus commit ourselves with the participation of children and young people, to create and maintain a supportive environment that reduces the vulnerability of children and their care-givers to HIV infection. We put our effort into programs that enable children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS to grow up in a caring family, have equal access to education and other essential services, and be protected against stigma and discrimination.

SOS is a dedicated part of the HIV/AIDS solution with over 470 villages raising orphaned and abandoned children in 132 countries worldwide, but more needs to be done to combat this global problem.

"Nearly three quarters of my class are orphaned," says Mr. Mashanga, a teacher at an SOS Primary School in Zimbabwe, where almost one in four children are now orphaned by AIDS.

"The situation is pathetic," added Mrs. Gombakomba, the school's Headmaster. "Children have to learn to be adults before their time. If you talk to these children they have stories that will move your heart. What is the world coming to?"

By 2010, the number of children orphaned by AIDS is expected to exceed 25 million globally. Progress cannot continue to be made at this level without the continued support of the U.S. government.