Seventeen Travelers will visit the HIV/AIDS rampant country of South Africa to engage in a “Service Vacation”. During the travel, volunteers will visit orphanages, street children, and many other non-profit organizations. The purpose of this trip is to provide assistance wherever possible, gain a clearer perspective on the on the HIV/AIDS crisis, and ultimately to change our own lives in the process. Each volunteer has covered their own expenses for this travel.
After our return to the United States, we plan on holding a workshop highlighting information gained from our travels as well as engaging in a letter writing campaign to public officials and local media.
About the Crisis:
The Aids epidemic in South Africa has reached alarming new levels. 4.5 million people in South Africa live with HIV/AIDS â€“ that represents 11.4% of their population. South Africa has one of the highest rates of infection in the world. In some areas, 1 out of 3 adults carry the virus. An average of 50 babies with HIV are abandoned every month in Cape Town alone. Many have been born with the HIV virus – passed on from their mothers at birth.
Organizations we will be interfacing with in South Africa:
– HOKISA (Homes for Kids in South Africa), based in Cape Town, contributes in the fight against AIDS by creating exemplary live-in care facilities for those who are most vulnerable â€“ the abandoned, diseased or orphaned children. It is the aim of HOKISA to provide these facilities in the poorest of communities where HIV/AIDS is most devastating.
– Lean on Me, based in Durban, recruits volunteers to work and travel with AIDS Orphans in Africa. It aims to improve the lives of people infected or affected with HIV/AIDS. They believe that Lean on Me volunteers return to their countries as ambassadors for AIDS awareness and the hardships Africans face.
Some more statistics:
– Due to the high death rate of adults an estimated 3% of households are now headed by children.
– 40 million people are affected by HIV/AIDS worldwide
– Aids is the leading cause of death in Africa, being responsible for one in five of all deaths in the continent last year, according to the United Nations (UN)
– There may be millions of people who still do not know that they are infected and their statistics are difficult to compile
More on the Crisis:
BBC: South Africa Aids crisis worsens