Life expectancy falls in Africa, orphans abound

By July 9, 2004

Africa (MNN) — Life expectancy in southern Africa, the world’s hardest-hit region by AIDS has dropped to 49 and without large-scale treatment programs could plummet to below 35 in some countries.

This explains why there are millions of orphans in the region. And, that’s why Buckner Orphan Care International is working there. Buckner’s Mike Douris. “The basic statistic that’s out there is 13.2 million orphans in Sub Saharan Africa alone. That number they project will grow to 40-million by the year 2010. Each of those children has got a horrible story to tell, just watching their parents die of AIDS,” says Douris.

Now, contrary to African culture, orphans are being ignored. Douris says, “It takes a village to raise a child, and that is very much a part of the African culture, but AIDS is really turned that whole concept upside down, where people are so overwhelmed by the crisis that now orphans are basically abandoned.”

Buckner Orphan Care International is helping, says Douris. “We are partnering with the Kenyan Baptist Association to basically design and support an orphanage there. We just finished four new dormitories. We have 48 children that are on campus. And, then we’ve started a foster care programs which is one of the first in Kenya,” he says.

The program is being supported by the government, especially the vice president. The program is located in his home town.

While caring for orphans physically, Buckner’s goal is more than that. “All the kids get the Gospel. We have church services on campus. Our director is actually a pastor. Many of the children want to become missionaries and pastors who are in the orphanage. And, all the foster families come from the churches in the local area. There’s no better way to expose the Gospel to a children than through a Christian home. That’s been our motivation all along.”

Buckner is raising $20,000 to support the program. However, this is just a drop in the bucket as the need is so great. They also need volunteers to go on short term mission trips two a year, once in December and again in April. They also need volunteer medical professionals to help.

If you’d like to help, go to http://www.HelpOrphans.org or call 1-877-7Orphan (1-877-767-7426).

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