International (MNN) — As the HIV/AIDS pandemic rages in Africa, millions of children are orphaned each year.
In a report, Children on the Brink, researchers discovered that more than 13.4 million children in Africa have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, and by 2010, this number is predicted to rise to 25 million.
Kids Alive International is a ministry devoted to helping widows and orphans as the Bible instructs in James 1:27. But due to overwhelming number of AIDS orphans, their residential homes are severely overcrowded.
Jim Kongwa, the field director in Zambia, has had to turn numerous children away from his children’s home because of lack of space. Instead, he would hold and pray over the child, give the child’s grandparent(s) a tin of formula, and tell them to come back in a month.
Unfortunately, most of these children die within a month because their grandparents cannot feed them. Kongwa no longer takes children into his arms to pray for them because he said it has become too painful.
To try to help, Kids Alive is launching a new initiative called “Families Together.”
President Al Lackey said the initiative is for children who still have one parent alive, or one or both grandparents to care for them. These children would remain with their families, and Kids Alive would help them with food and finances.
“We became aware that we could help care for those kids in their extended family and give them the same care, medicine, and education,” Lackey said. “We can help the grandma with farming and make sure we get them a cow or milk and give them some training, in some cases, or even business classes where they can gain dignity of their own.”
Kids Alive is currently testing “Families Together” in Latin America, Peru, and Kenya, but they want to launch the full program soon.
“We think that we could easily help 5,000 to 10,000 children, by locating and monitoring and giving them everything that we give to one of our residential children, except they will live in their home with their family,” Lackey said.
This ministry will not only provide for the children, but it will also help the child’s family and community. Lackey said it can become an evangelist tool and evangelical outreach as the family and surrounding community are shown the compassion and love of Christ.
However, to launch “Families Together,” Kids Alive needs to raise around $84,000. You can donate to this cause by visiting kidsalive.org. When you give, a Kids Alive donor has agreed to match your gift three-to-one. For example, if you give $100, they will give $300.