Orphans face a desperate situation in Africa

By February 19, 2004

Botswana (MNN) — "Africa is a continent that orphaned children are in the most desperate situation." That's according to Buckner Orphan Care International's Mike Douris. Douris says, "There's 13 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa alone. A lot of the children are not in any kind of care. Head of households are 12 or 13 years old kids that are basically taking care of their siblings.

Buckner is now working in Kenya and Botswana. Douris says Botswana is the most challenging. He says, "Francistown, Botswana has the highest infection rate of AIDS of any city in the world. They're saying the infection rate is 51% of the population who is HIV positive."

Their initial goal is to build a community center attached to the local church, says Douris. The goal is "to try to meet the needs of the kids that are basically living in homes that don't have any parents," he says. "We'll need capital money to build the building and we're in the process of evaluating of what those costs will be right now, and then to staff it. They'll be on going operational costs as well."

A team will be heading there in June to help them identify those needs.

Vacation Bibles schools are very popular among children in Botswana. Douris says, "So the opportunities for the Gospel as well are just tremendous and the opportunity for mercy – to actually show the love of Christ is tremendous as well."

Douris says the situation seems hopeless. "You may not be able to improve the situation they're in, but you can give them Jesus Christ and you can walk with them in the midst of whatever they're going to face in life," he says. "But, it's also to show the love of Christ through providing for them."

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