Cecilia’s Children centre will be situated on the shores of Lake Victoria, in North west Kenya. Kisumu is a beautiful region that has sadly been impoverished in parts due to the effects of economic deterioration. This decline was a result of political isolation brought about by the entry of a multiparty system in the late eighties and early nineties as well as the HIV /AIDS mania that has terrorised the Nyazana region for close to the last three decades.
According to the Kenyan National Aids Control Council, Kenya is one of the six HIV ‘high burden’ countries in Africa – about 1.6 million people were living with HIV infection at the end of 2011. By the end of 2011, there were 113,055 people living with HIV in Kisumu County which has a prevalence rate of 18.7% in adults. Children constitute 15% of those living with HIV in the county. The high burden of HIV and AIDS in Kenya accounts for an estimated 29% of annual adult deaths. You can read the full report here.
WHY Cecilia’s Children?
The real victims of these injustices are the children. An estimated generation of 2.3 million children have been left orphaned due to AIDS, and a high percentage left living with HIV.
So many children have dropped out of education to turn to child labour, fishing or commercial sex work in order to parent their older siblings. Without an education they find themselves stuck in the cycle of poverty that has entrapped the region, not to mention the emotional struggles they endure as children left to fend for themselves.
Each child, each family, has their own struggle. All of them deserve a future.
All of the children you see here have the same things in common. They have all lost one or both of their parents to HIV/AIDS. Not to mention the cycle of poverty they were already entrapped in.
None of these families have access to electricity or clean running water
Water is either collected via rainwater or from nearby streams – where water can be harmful to drink if not treated properly.
During dry season the families often find they have to walk for miles to find water for everyday use.
Most of the children will only have one meal a day. If they are fortunate enough.
The cost of sending a child to school is around 200-300 KSH per month.If you cant afford the fees you don’t go to school.
Not to mention costs for school books,stationary and uniforms…
The number of school girls selling their bodies to pay for education is sadly very high. Many men take advantage of their vulnerability – this in turn leads to many girls falling pregnant and dropping out of school altogether or performing dangerous illegal abortions.
Some cultural practices such as wife inheritance are further spreading HIV infections.
Who will benefit?
Cecilias Children centre will act as a rehabilitation centre and orphanage for vulnerable children who need shelter and a home. It will have the capacity to house up to 50 boys and 50 girls. Working alongside the community Cecilias children will run community projects, education and feeding programs as well as conducting social work to ensure the best possible care and support for the children most in need in Kisumu.
We want to provide the freedom of a future for these children. Children deserve not to have to worry about where their next meal will come from, or who will look after their baby sister or brother while they go out to earn money for the family. Every child has the right to a childhood and at Cecilia’s Children we want to give them that opportunity where they otherwise wouldn’t.