Supporting HIV orphans

1.2 million children have been orphaned by AIDS in Kenya. Born HIV positive, 26 year-old George was one such child, losing his mother to AIDS when he was 16-years-old. Through the support of VSO partner WOFAK he’s been educated and given the opportunity to develop skills to earn a living. VSO volunteer Aurelia Valota helps the organisation secure funding by reporting on the young lives it transforms.

George has never known life without HIV. Born HIV positive in the sprawling city of Nairobi, he was orphaned in his teenage years along with his siblings, when their mother died of AIDS. Since then, VSO partner Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya (WOFAK) has played a vital role in the life of George and his siblings. WOFAK has part-paid their school fees, providing them with text books and uniforms, and feeding them a nutritious meal every weekday. 

WOFAK – A lifeline for George

Now 26-years-old, George confidently declares how much he has benefitted from WOFAK, “I would not have been able to complete school after my mother died”, he says.  But it’s WOFAK’s vocational training programme that has helped him the most as he transitioned from his teenage years into adulthood.

After completing a six month diploma in hairdressing, George was awarded funding to complete a six month diploma in beauty.  He took a three-month teaching course and now trains hair and beauty therapy students full-time.  His HIV status means he frequently gets sick so the low-intensity work that teaching hairdressing and beauty demands suits his needs well.

WOFAK pays for 20 HIV orphans a year, aged 16-25, to complete a course in vocational training.  Skills’ training ranges from hairdressing and tailoring to mechanics and takes between six months and one year, equipping vulnerable young people with basic skills to earn and support themselves and their families. 

How VSO supports WOFAK

Setting up a Monitoring and Evaluation system across the organisation, VSO volunteer Aurelia Valota plays a critical role ensuring that funding continues to filter through to Kenya’s most vulnerable youth. 
WOFAK carries out myriad activities across its seven offices, from organising group therapy sessions in city prisons to providing food baskets to grandmother-headed households in remote and impoverished parts of the country. But documenting the impact WOFAK has on the lives of AIDs victims has always posed a challenge.

In a climate of decreasing funding, donors are demanding more evidence now than ever, before releasing funds.  With the critical assistance and expertise of Aurelia - WOFAK is now able to prove to donors that their work is an important lifeline to thousands of others like George, in Kenya’s poorest communities.

Brighter future orphans living with HIV 

Even though George now supports himself without the ongoing help of WOFAK, he still spends most of his spare time at a district office and represents WOFAK’s youth wing as chairman. His dream now is to open an orphanage; “I want other orphans to feel they have a home and people to take care of them, like I found with WOFAK.” 

George (centre) and his colleagues (Kenya - HIV and AIDS)

Challenge

Kenya is home to one of the world’s harshest HIV and AIDS epidemics. 1.2 million children have been orphaned by AIDS in Kenya.

Catalyst

VSO partner WOFAK helps feed, support the education and skills for jobs of HIV orphans. Volunteer Aurelia Valota helps ensure funding continues to filter through.

Result

Hundreds of vulnerable children across Kenya are given the tools to support themselves as young adults.

Kenya HIV and AIDS

How to apply

Interested in volunteering with VSO? Find out what you need to apply and begin your application process now.

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