What We Do
In sub-Saharan Africa alone, nearly 17 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Millions more live with ill relatives or elderly grandparents who are often too frail to adequately care for them. Increasing numbers of adolescents are now heads of households—raising themselves and their siblings without the daily care of a trusted adult.
Many children are themselves HIV positive. Their caregivers, often elderly and poor, are also in need of support, as the wellbeing of children in their care is inextricably linked to their own wellbeing.
These children can be highly stigmatized in their communities and are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. They are also more likely to be out of school, unemployed, and struggling with psychosocial challenges associated with the experience of devastating loss or chronic illness of parents and other family members.
In Africa, communities have always responded first to crises such as these and yet, getting support to the grassroots remains a challenge for government and donors. Bantwana’s vision was inspired by the remarkable work of ordinary people leading extraordinary community-based efforts to care for these children.
Communities and families shoulder 90% of the burden of caring for children affected by HIV and AIDS.
Understanding that children need a range of support to help them grow into healthy adults, Bantwana identifies dedicated leaders and innovative community efforts and helps them to strengthen services and systems that care for children.
By working at the grassroots, Bantwana creates stronger, more effective community responses. Bantwana works with local partners to influence policymakers through collective advocacy and works hand-in-hand with donors—all of whom play critical roles in supporting AIDS-affected children and families over the long term.