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Caring for the Children Left Behind by HIV

February 11, 2011
In Southwestern Tanzania, just steps from the Malawi border lies the bustling port town of Kyela, one of eight districts in the Mbeya region. A bustling commercial hub, Kyela endures an HIV prevalence rate well above the national average, which leaves a s

In Southwestern Tanzania, just steps from the Malawi border lies the bustling port town of Kyela, one of eight districts in the Mbeya region. A bustling commercial hub, Kyela endures an HIV prevalence rate well above the national average, which leaves a staggering number of children orphaned and vulnerable. In Kyela, approximately 7,100 children have been orphaned following the devastating effects of HIV on their family. 

2-11-2011.jpgLiving beneath a thatched roof on the outskirts of town is the Mwalubwile family. Five of the children there were orphaned when both parents died of AIDS. Left to be raised by their maternal grandparents—who lost two daughters to the disease—the children had barely a roof over their head and banana leaves to sleep on at night. While still raising one young daughter of their own, the grandmother, who is blind, and the grandfather, who is crippled, are now caring for six young children.  

The Mango Tree, one of the NGOs supported by the Walter Reed Program through PEPFAR funding cares for OVCs in the Kyela community such as the Mwalubwile family. Recognizing the need for even the most basic necessities as a foundation, The Mango Tree built the family a more substantial shelter and gave the family a mattress so the grandfather would no longer have to sleep on the ground.

While there is much work to be done to reduce the prevalence of HIV in communities like Kyela, NGOs like The Mango Tree are working to ensure the next generation can look forward to a healthier and brighter future.

View more pictures of the Mwalubwile family, The Mango Tree and others this NGO supports: