September 5, 2015

Last week i spent a few days working with the Bulembu orphanage. We photographed all 355 kids profile pictures. While editing these images i found that I couldnt stop the tears. I still dont know if I was sad for or proud of these kids. Maybe a little bit of both.

Below is a wee extract from the Bulembu mission statement that perfectly highlights why we need to help.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic has swept across the country impacting nearly every family in Swaziland. Recent statistics estimate the number of Swazi citizens living with AIDS at 38% - the highest infection rate in the world. Because of this, Swaziland is the only developing country in the world experiencing negative population growth. The UN has gone as far as to estimate that at the current rate of death, the Swazi people will cease to exist by the year 2050.

This disease has decimated a generation of Swazis. The loss of so many young parents has undermined traditional family structures. The result – a country wide orphan crisis. There are currently an estimated 120,000 orphaned and vulnerable children in Swaziland (15% of the total population) who have limited or no access to formal social support and have been left to fend for themselves.

Add to all this almost 78% of Swazis live below the poverty line, with two thirds living on less than £0.65 / €0.89 a day, and you have a national crisis.

Sep. 5 2015

Aidan O'Neill