All on their own -- A family of HIV-positive AIDS orphans

It's hard for me to imagine a situation more desperate than a child born with a deadly disease — the same disease that killed both her parents.


At age 13, Mihiret assumed the role of mother over her two younger siblings aged 9 and 7. AIDS consumed both of these children's parents, and all three of the children themselves are HIV positive.

Left to fend for themselves in Abosa, Ethiopia — a community stifled by extreme poverty — these children know too well the isolation that comes with the “HIV positive” label. This stigmamay not be visible or obvious, but it's often the invisible qualities of poverty that hurt the most.

The simple act of using a toilet became a daily reminder to these three of their rejection and helplessness. Having no toilet of their own, they were forced to walk long distances into the wilderness or face the embarrassment of constantly asking their neighbors.

When FH staff heard about these children, they invited them into the Child-Headed Household Program, meeting their desperate needs for food, school uniforms, medical expenses, and money to pay rent.

To further help this little family in a very practical way, FH built a latrine just 15 feet from their doorstep. “We want to thank again all who granted us these opportunities,” says Mihiret. “Thanks be to FHE [Food for the Hungry Ethiopia] and all donors, we will continue to struggle to get rid of poverty and work even harder and transform our lives.”

Presently, in this community alone, FH is helping 266 children in situations similar to that of Mihiret and her siblings. In this photo, children enjoy life-saving clean water from a new system installed by FH.