Mseleni, Northern KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

 

 

LK
 

Lulisandla Kumntwana

Poverty & AIDS

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Poverty and AIDS

AIDS comes with lots of challenges

 

The effect of AIDS on a family is often that the breadwinner becomes ill and is unable to work. During the period of sickness, when the income has dropped, money is spent on getting to hospital and buying medicine. Children may drop out of school either because of lack of money, or to look after the sick parents.

By the time children are orphaned, the family has gone deeper into poverty. The extended family may be able to offer a home, but limited resources become very stretched. A grandmother may be surviving on a small Old Age Pension (OAP) and now have to care for several sets of grandchildren. Many of these families are living in appalling circumstances; they have barely enough food, often going hungry. Housing, already very basic, falls into disrepair. Children become ill because of poor nutrition and not being able to access medical care (which is free for the very poor, but they have to be able to get to the clinic or hospital).

Many orphans struggle in lots of ways.   On top of poverty, they have to come to terms with the death of their parents;  they face stigma associated with AIDS & stigma associated with being an orphan.  They often lose hope, feeling that they will never succeed in anything, so there is no point carrying on in school.  Even if they are cared for by family members, they may feel that they are less important than the “real children” of the family.

Last Updated July 2011. The Webmaster