Stories

To protect the childen’s privacy, names have been changed and images of different children used.

Mpho

MphoAt 2, Mpho lost her parents.

At 3, she was diagnosed with HIV.

By 4, she could have been homeless…

Mpho lives in Lesotho, Southern Africa, where 1 in 4 adults has HIV.  A whole generation of parents has died of HIV/AIDS, leaving more than 100,000 orphans.

After her parents died of AIDS, Mpho went to live with her aunt.  The aunt, knowing what killed Mpho’s parents, took the child to be tested for HIV.

When Mpho tested HIV-positive, her aunt made her sleep in a shed outside.  She wouldn’t let her eat with the rest of the family.

Mpho was 3 years old.

Finally, a granny in her village saw what was happening.  Although she wasn’t related to Mpho and had no money to raise her, the granny knew she could love Mpho.  And that alone would improve the child’s life.

Granny Tumelo took Mpho in and they have lived together ever since.  Granny Tumelo shares the little food she has.  She travels long distances every month to bring Mpho to the HIV clinic.  And next year, she hopes to find enough money for a school uniform so Mpho can start first grade.

Granny Tumelo has taken Mpho into her heart.  You can see it in the way they beam at each other.  In the way Mpho trusts adults now.  In Mpho’s willingness to take bitter HIV medicines, if her granny gives them to her.

Unfortunately, they can’t eat love.  Granny Tumelo is too old to work, and has no income at all.  An early frost killed the last few onions and tomatoes in her small garden.  She and Mpho eat boiled corn meal, the cheapest food, for every meal.

You can see from Mpho’s small frame that she is not getting enough to eat.  Now 6, she looks 4.

Granny Tumelo applied for government food assistance for Mpho, who should be eligible,as an orphan.  After many visits to the Social Welfare Office, and realms of paperwork, they were put on the waiting list.  That was 3 months ago.  They’re still waiting.  There simply isn’t enough food for all the orphans in Lesotho.

At the last doctor’s visit, Granny Tumelo swallowed her pride and asked for help.  She told me the story of taking in Mpho—not to brag, but simply to emphasize that she was asking for the child’s sake, not her own.

I slipped them some money.  Maybe enough for food for a month.  We all hope the food from Social Welfare will come through before the money runs out.  I worry about who will help them now that I’ve returned to the United States.

AIDS Orphan Care was founded to help orphans like Mpho and her granny.  To help with food support until the government food aid kicks in.  To buy a school uniform and shoes, so Mpho can attend school.

For $1 a day, you could sponsor Mpho.  Send her to school.  Help her grow, so one day she’ll look her age.  Pay for her trips to the HIV clinic.  For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you can change her life.

Granny Tumelo has already done her part.  What about you?