December 1 is World AIDS Day–a time we consider all that has been lost to the disease and remember all those whose lives have forever been impacted by the loss of family and community from this ravager. Since 2002, Heroes of the Nation has been serving approximately 500 orphans and vulnerable children annually at its home and school in Nyahururu, Kenya. And, in any discussion about orphans and vulnerable children, the impact of HIV/AIDS is sure to come up.
The statistics are sobering: in 1985, just over 20,000 cases of HIV/AIDS were identified across every region of the world. In just 32 years, HIV/AIDS has killed more than 36.5 million people, and has infected over 76 million worldwide. Kenya, Uganda, and Mozambique are tied for the fourth largest AIDS epidemic in the world, and of immediate concern to Heroes of the Nation are the over 17.3 million children in Sub-saharan Africa who have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that over 2 million Kenyan children alone have been orphaned due to the disease, while nearly 2 million more children are extremely vulnerable, living with HIV infected caregivers.
Thankfully, HIV prevalence declines as prevention awareness is taught and medical treatment improves, but the impacts of AIDS on children, families, communities, economies and societies will accumulate for generations. So we pause today to reflect on and pray for those whose whole lives have been forever altered by this disease.
It is a privilege to partner with the church, government,and non-governmental organizations to serve the children and families who have been and continue to be changed by AIDS. Protecting the full potential of a child requires substantial investment, experience and inspiration. We are grateful to our generous, faithful donors who allow us to continue to pursue our mission to raise each orphan into a leader with a heart of a Hero.