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Philadelphia-Based Non-Profit Orphan Support Africa Embarks on First Annual World AIDS Orphan Week




PHILADELPHIA, PA - On May 1st, Orphan Support Africa, the Philadelphia based, international non-profit will embark on its first annual World AIDS Orphan Week (WAOW); a weeklong awareness campaign surrounding the internationally recognized World AIDS Orphan Day on May 7th. Activities will include a series of smaller support events at local venues and a headlining DJ trio on May 5th featuring Rich Medina, Nigel Richards and DJ Frosty at Philadelphia's Fluid Nightclub.

Orphan Support Africa (OSA) works to restore the futures of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS throughout the poorest areas of Malawi, Tanzania, and southern Uganda. Using a strategy that harnesses and mobilizes local resources, OSA empowers community-based organizations to create sustainable, self-run enterprises whose revenues provide these children with the comprehensive care they need to become self-reliant adults. Since its inception in 2004 and initial success from a $2.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Orphan Support Africa has been able to reach more than 55,000 orphans and vulnerable children and countless community members, schools, children's corners and youth groups through partnerships with 44 self-initiated groups at the community level.

Especially in the last decade, all three countries in which OSA works have experienced sharp increases in an already staggering orphan population: Of a population of fewer than 14 million, Malawi currently shoulders caring for the health and psychosocial needs of over one million orphans, nearly half of whom have been orphaned as a direct result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

"It's tragic that millions of children in Sub-Saharan Africa have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS," said Dr. Nicholas Hellmann, director of HIV, TB and Reproductive Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "Orphan Support Africa will help local communities ensure that these vulnerable children receive the care and support they deserve."

OSA utilized the initial grant to support existing community programs that offer comprehensive or holistic care to children, providing food, shelter, education, healthcare, recreation and psychosocial support, and ensuring that these children remain in villages, and are not sent to orphanages where they will become ostracized in a culture that revolves around family and village life. OSA works with community based organizations (CBOs) that demonstrate strong leadership and vision, sound fiscal management and long-term plans to meet the complete needs of orphans and other vulnerable children.

The goal is self-sufficiency for each CBO through development of low-cost services, diversification of income sources, and enhancement of revenue through income-generating activities. This approach represents a major shift in humanitarian aid, empowering at the grass-roots level, those most able, most invested, and most eager to nurture these orphans and vulnerable children to become healthy, self-reliant adults.

In light of the recent controversies faced by Madonna and Raising Malawi, it is imperative, now more than ever, that we draw positive attention to the plight of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Africa and worldwide; Orphan Support Africa and World AIDS Orphan Week provide just that platform. To that end, all proceeds from WAOW will go to support OSA's proven and sustainable core initiatives.

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If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please call 215-454-2174 or e-mail our PR Department at Press@orphansupportafrica.org

Source: Orphan Support Africa
http://orphansupportafrica.org/world-aids-orphan-week-3/press-release

Contact:
Jill M Grossman
Jill@orphansupportafrica.org
US phone: 215.454.2174
Cell: 484.678.0640
Web: www.orphansupportafrica.org



Reproduced with permission - "Orphan Support Africa"

Orphan Support Africa
www.orphansupportafrica.org


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