A new home for AIDS orphans

Extensive renovation work in the orphanage Mt. Mellary completed

by LKO, 2017/02/14

Economically and socially, Zimbabwe has been in decline for many years. A severe economic and financial crisis, caused by mismanagement, is leading the once promising country and its inhabitants towards ruin. The situation is further complicated by the high HIV/AIDS infection rates, the fatal consequences of which can not be met to an even slightly adequate extent due to the bad medical care situation. According to official sources 10 per cent of the population are HIV-positive, which turns Zimbabwe into one of the worst affected countries of the world.

The consequences of these circumstances are staggering and involve once more the youngest members of our society. After having lost their parents to the deadly virus, ten thousands of children have to fight not only against the infection itself, but also against the widespread stigmata and social exclusion in Zimbabwe.

A life characterised by deficiency and social exclusion: the children in the orphanage Mt. Mellary urgently need support. Photo: humedica

But there are also islands of hope. The orphanage Mt. Mellary in the small town of Nyanga not far from the Mozambique border fights with all its strength these serious problems. 22 children, whose parents died of AIDS and who are also infected with the virus, here have a secure place to learn, play and grow up. Three sisters of the Carmelites convent care for the five to seventeen year olds around the clock and try to keep their lives as normal as possible.

But of course the country´s misery does not stop at the orphanage´s doorsteps and so the living conditions of the children and their caregivers are characterised by deficiency and poverty. Reason enough for humedica to spring into action and to support the inhabitants of the dilapidated orphanage with much needed supplies and basic renovation works. After important supply goods such as a cooker or mattresses had already been delivered in the last two years, now the necessary renovation works could be completed.

The focus of the refurbishments was on the construction of a new wastewater tank to replace the existing but defective and stuffed cesspit. A new tank and a pump now provide for a functioning sewage system and minimise the infection risk posed by the leakage of the former cesspit.

Small steps make a big difference: the new sanitary installations improve the hygiene standards fundamentally. Photo: humedica

A new solar energy system on the roof of the orphanage and basically renovated bathrooms created the conditions necessary for running hot water. Now the boys and girls are able to wash themselves carefully, which increases the hygiene standard and reduces significantly the transmission risk of infectious diseases, which is of vital importance for children, who are already infected with HIV.

Of course the renovations also included the remaining living space of the orphanage. The dormitories of the boys and girls were completely made over. Walls were painted, new floors were laid and new doors and windows were put in. Previously unused rooms were also refurbished, so that the children now have additional space to eat and to learn, which they can use in case of bad weather.

The whole orphanage is now more attractive and modern as before and helped to improve the living conditions fundamentally. However, the renovations in Mt. Mellary entailed something else, which can even be more important: the feeling they imparted to the children. In the face of their heavy lots as AIDS orphans, who often have to endure neglect and misery, these supporting measures convey a sense of appreciation and belonging to the boys and girls, which are elementary components for the positive development of children.

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