Now, six months later, it's time to pony up an anniversary gift. Earlier this week, in honor of the six month anniversary of the Just Post Roundtable, both Jen and Mad had some riveting posts about orphans created by the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Please read them. The statistics are staggering. Mad writes:
"There are 8 million children in Canada. There are 13 million AIDS orphans in Africa." In the time it has taken me to write a handful of social justice posts over these last 6 months that number has steadily risen. It is expected to reach 18 million by 2010. The children of almost two Canadas are being raised without parents at all. Many of these children are HIV-positive themsleves. It's too much too even imagine, isn't it? I try to get my head around it but I simply can't.18 million orphaned children. Just think about that for a moment.
Does that number horrify you as much as it horrified me? Then read on.
In the way that magnificent women do, Jen and Mad are trying to do something to alleviate suffering, rather than just writing about it. In honor of the Just Post Roundtable, they're on a mission to raise money for the cause. Jen points us to an American non-profit organization called Open Arms. Open Arms runs a home for orphaned children on the Eastern Cape. The people of Open Arms keep the children in the community, hire workers from the community, and try to make a difference.
Here are some more statistics from the Open Arms website:
- On average,600 people die from AIDS each day in South Africa;
- 21.5% of the entire South African population is living with HIV. This is among the highest infection rates in the world;
- The HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women is currently estimated at 27.9% nationally and 27.1% in the Eastern Cape;
- 250 babies are born HIV positive each day in South Africa;
- Average household income in the Eastern Cape is $1,300 per year, or 7,800 rand per year. The provincial unemployment rate is 32%;
- Because of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, the average life expectancy in South Africa is expected to drop to 36.5 years by 2010. It was 68.5 years before AIDS.
Mad also points us to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, a Canadian foundation raising money for a similar cause.
In honor of the Just Post Roundtable, in honor of Jen and Mad and all women everywhere who try to make a difference, I ask you to make a donation to one of these organizations if you can. If you do donate to Open Arms, please put Just Posts in the space for Company Name, so that Jen and Mad can track how much we've raised. And if you'd like, feel free to write about this on your own blog and let Jen or Mad know about it before the June 10th announcement of the May Just Posts. If you can't donate, then give your time to your community and to people less fortunate in any way you can. Let's give these ladies a hell of an anniversary present.