HIV/AIDS has a tremendous impact on the lives of families and entire communities. When breadwinners are lost to HIV/AIDS they leave behind widows and orphaned children who often struggle to make ends meet and put food on the table, let alone support school fees or the cost of caring for other family members living with HIV. When both parents succumb to AIDS, children are left in the care of the eldest sibling or extended family – commonly grandparents. These HIV-affected households face the additional challenge of stigma which acts as a further barrier to their economic sustainability.
CAP/AIDS is working with local community partners to coordinate delivery of vocational skills training and employment for AIDS-orphaned youth. We are also coordinating self-employment skills development activities for caregivers and youth, providing start-up financing for their new businesses. Finally, in order to guarantee the sustainability of new sources of income, we facilitate life skills and HIV/AIDS training to ensure that new incomes translate into long-term change, enabling these vulnerable youth-headed and caregiver households to break the cycle of poverty.
Impact and Results
Through our focus on sustainable livelihoods, we have supported more than 1,500 AIDS-orphaned youth and caregivers to develop new sources of income and to become self-reliant. Most often starting from surviving on less than $1 per day, these family breadwinners have, on average, increased their household incomes by 200%, enabling them to become food secure, pay school fees to keep children in school and cover medical expenses. Most of these families have 5+ dependents who, in turn, have a better chance of escaping the all too common cycle of HIV/AIDS and poverty.