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Issue: Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Release Date: November 1, 2010

Video Testimony: K. Barber

Photos: A. Seegers


Photos by Alexandra Seegers

Dreams of Hope

“I’m Esther… I’m 7 years old. I’m David… I’m 9 years old. We just want to say Thank you Africare we love you!”

Like many children their age, nine-year old David and seven-year old Esther of Lagos, Nigeria, are dreaming with big hopes for the future. They are dreaming about what they’ll be when they grow up.

“I want to be a nurse because my mother’s a nurse,” exclaims Esther with a smile. “I want to be a doctor because I will take care or sick people,” David quickly follows.

Their smiles share their aspirations for the future but also mask a very different reality that has been handed to them. David is an orphan. He lost both his parents in a car accident and shortly after moved in with his grandparents, who found it difficult to find extra money to pay for his school fees. Esther lives with her mother but is considered vulnerable and at risk because her household is unstable. Odds like these would usually make it almost impossible for these two young dreamers to be the nurse and doctor they hope to be... that is until they were identified by Africare’s Technical Response to AIDS Affected Populations Project (TAP).

TAP aims to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, targeting youth and other at-risk groups to provide basic HIV and preventive care services. Since the project was launched in 2005, 2,000 orphans and vulnerable children, including David and Esther, and their caregivers from Lagos, Rivers and Bayelsa States have received at least three of six basic support services offered by the program: 1) psychosocial support; 2) nutrition training; 3) education; 4) basic care and shelter; 5) protection; and 6) health care. Like all Africare programs, TAP takes an integrated approach.

The services are tailored to each child given their situation and need. In David and Esther’s case, they were identified by an Africare Community Service Volunteer on the ground to receive supplies such as books and uniforms for school, help with homework, and psychosocial training.

For David, that means he gets to stay in school. For little Esther, while she may not understand the full extent of the services being offered, she sums up her appreciation with four simple words: “… We love you Africare!”

David and Esther dream of helping others. How about you?

Pass It On! for Africare.

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