Sima Community based Organization and our Church ministry has gone a step ahead about orphan, disable children and vulnerable children. We have started a school to help this orphan, disable and vulnerable children It is vital for children’s futures that they attend school and take full advantage of their education. Education is also important for their psychosocial development. Schools can provide children with a safe, structured environment, the emotional support and supervision of adults, and the opportunity to learn how to interact with other children and develop social networks. Education can also reduce children’s risk of HIV infection by increasing their knowledge, awareness, skills and opportunities.
However, children affected by HIV are less likely than other children to be enrolled in school or attend regularly. Children’s education has been devastated by HIV. There will be lasting consequences for the futures of all children, but especially those from households affected by HIV. The effects are being felt in the following ways:
- Low enrolment of children in schools
Affected households are unable to pay for schools fees and materials, and the children – mostly girls – often have to do domestic work and care for sick relatives. When there are few resources available, providing food and medicines for a sick relative often takes priority over a child’s education – especially a girl’s education.
- Poor school attendance and performance
This may be due to increased domestic responsibilities; poverty and the need to earn; poor health and nutrition; difficulties in concentrating in class; and stigma and discrimination by teachers and other pupils.
- Economic strengthening
Many orphans and vulnerable children live in great poverty. In many cases, this poverty has been caused or worsened by HIV. HIV-related illness and death affects the economic coping capacity of children when:
1. ill parents and breadwinners produce decreasing incomes and deplete family resources until their eventual death
2. families become larger, as orphans move in with relatives who may already be living in difficult circumstances
3. there is increased expenditure on medication and funerals
4. inheritance and assets are reduced or in order to generate income obtain credit.
In some part of Kenya, communities and extended families do not have enough resources to provide economic support to the ever-increasing numbers of orphaned and affected households. These poor households are struggling without support to meet their children’s basic needs of food, clothing, education, housing and medical care.
This section considers the effects of increased poverty and lack of economic opportunities on children’s lives.
Orphans and children from affected families are more likely to be poor because of:
I. Reduced household income
While parents are too sick to earn money, and after their death. This leads in turn to reduced access to health care, food and education for the children, and even in some cases the loss of their home and property. Usually, sick parents cannot remain as productive, so less income or food is produced for the family.
II. Increased expenditure on health care. Households with a family member who has AIDS-related illnesses use a high proportion of their income for medical expenses.
III. Funeral costs. In some areas where death rates due to AIDS are high, communities many no longer contribute towards funerals costs, leaving bereaved households to meet all the expenses themselves. Funeral costs are usually high: there is a long period of mourning, with large number of mourners to be fed, and many families have to deal with several funerals in close succession.
IV. Debt. Sometimes parents die leaving unsettled debts.
V. Depleted resources. Common coping strategies used by households in times of economic difficulty deplete the family’s resources and compromise the children’s futures.
VI. Life chances. Children in affected households or who have lost their parents many have to earn money to contribute to household income. Such children start work earlier than their contemporaries and often either leave or miss school, affecting their chances of achieving functional literacy. In extreme cases, girl children may sell sex to support themselves and younger siblings. Sometimes girls may get married for economic security.
- Poor quality education and crisis in the education system
The high number of teachers with HIV has resulted in teacher absenteeism, irregular classes and fewer teachers in schools. This increase teacher to pupil ratios, reducing the quality of teaching/ learning and the support teachers and schools can provide to vulnerable children. Some children may pull out of school altogether because they are afraid of getting HIV from their teachers. This is particularly so in rural areas, where many people are still misinformed about HIV transmission.
- Poor educational achievement
Many factors contribute to the poor educational achievement of orphans and vulnerable
1. Poverty and the need to work
2. Domestic responsibilities
3. Psychological stress
4. Stigma and discrimination
5. Lack of adult support
6. Ill health and malnutrition
7. Poor quality education.
In Kenya, children in orphaned households faced with heavy domestic responsibilities said that needed books, pens, uniforms, school fees and money for school trips.
We are requesting to your cooperation with us and assist in form of any resources, ideas, advices, spiritual and prayers how we can come up to save the children’s future life.
Please find the attached photos.
Yours in Christ Name
Johnstone Sikulu Wanjala
Sima C.B.O. , PO BOX 1691, Kitale 30200 Kenya.
Mobile phone: +254-735 754 816.