Machao Orphanage Fast Facts
- Children living in Makueni, Kenya live in a district severely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In Makueni, the disease has impacted the entire social structure, creating a generation of orphans and vulnerable children.
- Approximately one in ten of the adult population in this area is HIV positive. This has had a serious impact on food security as many families have lost the most agriculturally productive family members to the disease. Responsibility for the family welfare has fallen to orphans, widows or grandparents, who often lack the skills and resources needed.
- Makueni, Kenya is approximately a three and a half drive south east of Nairobi. For at least the last five consecutive years there has been inadequate rain and the government and United Nations have declared an ongoing emergency operation. In these districts crops have partially or totally failed, with devastating effect on people who normally get 50 per cent of their income from livestock production and 30 per cent from food crops. The ongoing drought has reduced livestock and the livelihood of an estimated population of over 1.8 million rural people, with more than 60 per cent now living below the official poverty line, according to government statistics.
- Agriculture and water are first and foremost a necessity and are the target areas for organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
- The primary cause of the high number of orphans is due to HIV/AIDS. These orphans are left vulnerable and unable to care for themselves. The Machao Orphanage Foundation’s goal is to take care of these orphan children, one child at a time. Currently, there are 25 children in the home, with 2 to 3 children sharing a bed and a waiting list of 65 children. With continued assistance, a larger facility can be built to house 80 children at one time (completed, August 2009). For those children on the waiting list, they have been assigned ‘foster parents’ who check in on the children who are left home alone.