Fewer orphans are being absorbed into their extended families.In many cases there are no grandparents, aunts, uncles or other relatives alive or able to take in these new orphans. This is one of the saddest consequences of the AIDS crisis. Siblings are left to care for themselves without a caring adult. This living situation is referred to as a Child Headed Household (CHH). The oldest child, often a teenager or younger, becomes the sole provider, care giver and protection-responsibilities they are not able to assume.
The Living Conditions
Children who Head these Households are deprived of their childhood and the opportunity to go to school. They are forced to look for ways to provide for their siblings which increases their vulnerability to child labor, sex work, destructive cultural practices and HIV infections. The houses they live in are made out of mud bricks, grass, tree branches, dry banana leaves and any plastic they find to keep the rain out. With no men in their lives, the homes are in terrible need of repair. Normally, the roofs no longer keep the rain out, the walls are cracked and have gaping holes; and the doors and windows are broken or non-existent.
How You Can Help
Consultations with government officials and community based groups reveal that the Zomba area suffers from the highest rates of Child Headed Households as well as experiencing the cruelest acts committed against orphans, especially those living in a CHH. Children in these households desperately need a strong caring adult in their lives, one who will stand up for them, visit them and begin to speak hope and grace into their situation.
Each sponsored Child Headed Household allows the Passion Center to begin providing the rescources that a parent would otherwise provide: protection, food, education, shelter, and loving support.