Kenya (MNN) — Today almost 6,000 kids in Africa will become orphans through HIV/AIDS. In Kenya, the country ranks fourth in the world when it comes to AIDS deaths. That means many children are living without their parents and have nowhere to turn.
Kids Alive International is giving kids that place to turn. Their Kenya national director Linda Mugo describes what happens to young girls. "The families of the young girls will marry them off to older men, partly because they pay the bride price, or dowry. That's traditionally what's taking place in most of these cultures. And, that would be a benefit to most of these families, but not to the girls."
These girls get married and have children, but most of them never finish school and can't take care of themselves when their older husbands die.
Kids Alive is rescuing girls before they're sold into marriage at age 10 to 12. When they're rescued they're placed into the Esther Homes, which are named after the book of Esther, an orphan who helped deliver her people. "Our girls see themselves as the Esther of their day. They're able to bring change into their own community, in their villages. So, Kids Alive is rescuing girls and raising them in the Esther House so that they're able to be good influencers in their communities."
Sabina is a 16 year old who was rescued when she was nine. "I go to school. I'm in high school. I get food. I get a bed, which didn't have before. Now I get love and everything that I need." She plans to be a doctor.
Sabina says she could be like some of her friends. "My friends, the girls who are of my age now, have their own kids. Some of them have been married."
Christine was rescued at age 11. Now 19, she wants to be a nurse. Christine says while she has also been given the necessities in life, she's thankful for the spiritual training and is ready to tell others about Christ.
Mugo says they have four residential centers. "Each home has a community arm, through which we reach out to other needy children who have guardians. Some live with grandmothers, or single parents. We provide education and medical care for them."
They assist them through a new program called, Keeping Families Together. The goal is to provide the needed resources to these caregivers so the family can be preserved.
Mugo says throughout their programs, "We have seen most of our children come to know Christ and is living for Him in their daily lives. We say that it's not just for here, but it's for eternity."
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