The Energy of Children

24 03 2013

The little people whose lives have been affected with an adult condition never cease to amaze us by the energy with which they tackle the many challenges that are put on their ‘path of life’.

In Africa a growing trend is the child-headed households.

Adolescents, and some as young as twelve, take over the care of their siblings when they have lost their parents to Aids related conditions.

In most cases these children do not want to go to orphanages or foster care because they do not want to be separated as families. These children have sacrificed their childhood to rear their siblings and we can just admire the energy with which they take over this heavy adult task.

The community, teachers, religious leaders and clinics must inform the authorities when these child-headed families are discovered. They need to be visited regularly by social workers, counsellors and nurses to assess their physical and psychosocial needs.

Every effort must be made to prevent the adolescents from dropping out of school. Without education the children face a dismal future and are open to abuse by unscrupulous adults.

There are many charities and churches that put a great deal of support and resources into these child-headed households, but much more help is needed. Unfortunately many still slip through the cracks and go undetected.

SOS Children’s Villages is just one of the many charities, religious groups and NGOs that is heavily involved in this project.

If we are unable to provide material aid we can at least remember these children in our prayers. They need our physical, emotional and spiritual support to provide them with a brighter future.

They need our energy!

©Teresa Denton




6 responses

24 03 2013
Twinned Citiesill van der Walt

This is a compassionate piece of writing. I have known, amongst my own students, the very thing you speak of: teenagers taking over households. One in particular who comes to mind is a boy who, having lost a mother and later a caring aunt, looked after his brothers and sisters, got his matric and has gone on at Stellenbosch university to get a Masters in geology – a story that makes me optimistic for this country.

24 03 2013
Teresa Denton

Thank you so much for your response. We must hope that the authorities find most of these children so that they can be supported. The touching story of your own experience proves that there is always hope, even in the most tragic circustances.

24 03 2013

Quite moving, and at the same time well written.

25 03 2013
Teresa Denton

Thank you so much for your interest Berowne. We can only try to make a difference and raise awareness.

25 03 2013
Sharp Little Pencil

Teresa, I admire your willingness to use your blog as a springboard for informing people and affecting social change. These children grow up so fast with the extra responsibility. You’d never see a family held together here in America – they’d be scooped up by the foster system, separated, and farmed out to different homes.

I admire these children’s sacrifice, even as I pray for their well-being. Our church is one of many that supports Church World Service and other groups fighting the relentless scourge of AIDS, reasonable sex ed for the kids, to use condoms – and support for all who are working wiht people at the grassroots level. As a lifelong activist, I view this article with a great deal of admiration for you! Peace, Amy (saw you on Sunday Scribs)

25 03 2013
Teresa Denton

I really appreciate your kind remarks & concern. This blog is exclusively used to raise awareness & provide information re HIV/AIDS. Many people find the subject uncomfortable to face.

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