13 Dec Please Help Us Give Africa’s Children the Gift of Life and Hope!
Please Help Us Give Africa’s Children the Gift of Life and Hope!
December 13 , 2006
Sisters The picture on the right depicts what is called “an orphan-led family” and it illustrates one of the saddest and most heart rending impacts of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that is devastating Africa. The older girl, no more than 9- or 10-years-old, is the head of this “family,” consisting of herself and her younger sister.
Sadly, orphan-led families like hers are becoming all too common. But they are only one manifestation of the impact AIDS is having on Africa, a continent that is being ravaged and decimated by this pandemic.
The statistics are staggering, almost incomprehensible. There are already 14 million AIDS orphans in Africa. By the end of the decade, just four short years from now, that number is expected to exceed 25 million!
Children in this situation believe that they are doomed to grow up and die like their parents and other adults in their life. They have no hope for their future. This is why I am asking you to help us bring life and hope to Africa’s children.
Sisters Five years ago, UFI took upon itself one of the greatest responsibilities that any organization has ever decided to carry upon its shoulders. We looked at the world and realized that families were being torn apart because of HIV/AIDS and that Africa was where the crisis was greatest. We also realized that the only hope for Africa’s future is to teach the children the principles that will help them to live long, loving lives.
That is why UFI has spent years developing and implementing a truly inspired program, the Stay Alive HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Program. Stay Alive offers hope. It empowers young minds with the knowledge they need to make choices that will help them avoid contracting AIDS themselves and also to build their future families.
Stay Alive is a skills-based program which teaches abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage. We have already taught it to more than 750,000 children in Africa and prevented thousands of them from contracting this deadly disease. Yet large as this number is, it represents only a tiny fraction of the children we must reach. This is why I am urgently asking for your help.
We have known that Stay Alive works because of the many wonderful testimonials we hear and the results we can see. Recent independent evaluation results underscore its effectiveness. An evaluation of the Stay Alive program in Kenya revealed an astounding 61 percent drop in pregnancy rates after it was taught. This is a great testimony to Stay Alive’s effectiveness in reducing early sexual behavior. Below is a brief summary of how Stay Alive works and some personal success stories of how it is helping.
Boy Studying Here is another astounding fact. Teaching the Stay Alive program only costs an average of 75 cents per child/year. Imagine helping to save a child’s life for under a dollar!
In our world today, we see children and families attacked from so many different directions, and we see the children as the greatest victims of such attacks. Tragically, those among us who are the most vulnerable and helpless are the very ones who cannot protect themselves.
Standing up for families and children in the face of these increasing attacks is financially demanding for UFI. With so many resources needed to protect families, we are in desperate need to secure funds to continue the Stay Alive program in Africa.
This is why I am pleading for your immediate life-saving financial support today. You can easily and securely donate online. Simply click here. Or, if you prefer, you can also print out a form to mail in a contribution. Of course, your contribution to help us save Africa’s children is tax-deductible.
As you are considering whether to help, please consider this: In many places in Africa, you walk through villages and see few adults. There are grandparents, a few other adults and a massive sea of orphans. It is very humbling and troubling to realize that almost an entire generation is missing due to the AIDS pandemic.
Kids at table
Stay Alive is unique both in its effective teaching of how HIV/AIDS is contracted and in empowering children with decision-making skills; both of these critical elements are essential for their future.
It is impossible for anyone who has not been to Africa to grasp the magnitude of the crisis and the human suffering there. But I am asking you to try to imagine it, and then join us in in our efforts to deal with it by contributing generously. For $50 we can bring Stay Alive to more than 60 children. For $100 we can teach more than 130. For $1,000 we can present it to several schools. But any amount you can afford will help and will be put to good use.
This is one of those times that your support is literally a matter of life and death. The greatest gift any parent could give their child is the gift of a long and loving life. This Christmas season please do for these AIDS orphans what their parents are no longer able to do and help them “Stay Alive.”
Bless you for your good heart and for your willingness to get involved. Thank you for whatever you can do to help.
Some Stay Alive Personal Success Stories
Here are a few recent success stories about the significant impact that our Stay Alive program is having on families in Africa:
Joe Salim Mwangi, a religious leader in Kenya, heard about the Stay Alive program from children who had embraced the program taught in their schools. He uses his own funds to implement the program in his church. As a result of AIDS, he notes that people are dying daily in his community. Many parents who are still alive prostitute themselves for survival. The children are following their parents’ examples and, as a result, AIDS is spreading. He notes, “The children find Stay Alive very practical because they know of someone who died the other day or they know someone who is very sick. Stay Alive helps the children to get rid of any type of behavior that can destroy their lives. The parents can see the value in the program because they can see there is something there that even they can learn.”
Naomi Obuya is a teenage girl who lives in Kendu Bay, a village in Western Kenya. The HIV rate in Kendu Bay is close to 33 percent of the population, yet no one wants to talk about it. A few years ago, Naomi was taking care of her ailing mother. She knew something was wrong, but no one spoke of the problem. Her father had died a year earlier of a sickness and her mother was soon to follow. The Stay Alive program was introduced to Kendu Bay during the time Naomi’s mother started showing signs of the sickness. Prior to her death, her mother had one request and that was to obtain the words to the “Stay Alive” song so that she could help uplift and motivate her children to stay HIV/AIDS free.
A grandmother in a rural village in Uganda is raising seven grandchildren because two of her adult children have died of AIDS and a third son is presently dying from the disease. She told us that she has been involved with her oldest grandchildren in the Stay Alive discussions in her home. She said the Stay Alive program helps her grandchildren be more obedient and it also gives her a way to discuss HIV/AIDS that she did not have with her own children. She said, “I was not able to save my own children, but with the Stay Alive program, I may save my grandchildren.”
Lydiah Anyango, a 15-year-old Kenyan, started the Stay Alive program three years ago. She said, “The Stay Alive program has really helped me as an individual and it has helped many of my friends. I was taught how to make the right choices, how to help those people I love be happy and proud of me and how to make my family members be joyful. Each time I had an opportunity to learn more about Stay Alive, I made sure that I told these things to my family and to my friends. It has helped many of my friends to make the right choices, how to have good friends and how to have good behaviors.”
Sarah Muchiti, a Kenyan parent, explains, “Because of the Stay Alive program, my children know the outcome of the choices they make and they understand that for them to have a happy and long life, they have to abstain, they have work hard in education; they have to sacrifice for others; they have to show love.”
Sarah was married for 15 years before her husband abandoned their family. Sarah explained, “Because of the Stay Alive program, I learned that I should only be with my husband in order to show love to my kids, to let them have trust in me. The Stay Alive program has [helped me understand] that I have to work hard, give them an education, sacrifice for them and then [stay alive] for my kids’ sake.”