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.
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
Jill M Grossman
US phone: 215.454.2174
Reproduced with permission - "Orphan Support Africa"
Orphan Support Africa