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AIDS Orphans In Sub-Saharan Africa
By 2010, sub-Saharan Africa will be home to an estimated 20 million orphaned children. Because of HIV/AIDS, the number of AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa is spiraling upward—increasing exponentially—rather than declining. In Uganda, where half the population is under 15, the number of orphans is projected to rise, as parents already infected continue to die from the disease. According to UNICEF, “The staggering number of African children already orphaned due to AIDS is only the beginning of a crisis of gargantuan proportions… the worst is yet to come.”
It is in response to these statistics that in 2006, I traveled to remote villages in Uganda and began documenting families whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS. It is these AIDS orphans who have left an indelible impression upon my heart. Bearing witness to their struggle to survive, I feel accountable to them. That said, it would have been impossible to see what I have seen and walk away—I wholeheartedly feel as though I was introduced to these children for a reason, and am overwhelmed by the feeling that I was born to tell their stories.
My work in 2008/09 has centered around one family who live in a remote rural village in the Rakai district of Uganda, the original epicenter of the AIDS pandemic. The family consists of eleven children, five of whom are AIDS orphans.
Here, I introduce to you Lydia, Molly, Nasta, Hallen, Scovia, James, Eddie, Dennis, Jackie, Agnes, Elliott and friends, brave souls who have allowed me to step into their hearts and lives.
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Many thanks… david alan harvey