Mbeya is one of the biggest cities in Tanzania after Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, and Arusha. It is the region through which the Great North road passes (i.e Cairo to Cape Town). Also it is one of the main roads in Tanzania, which begins from Dar es Salaam to Tunduma (The city of Mbeya region). It is one of the busy road with many truck cargoes which go through the region to Malawi, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mbeya region is among three leading regions with high HIV infection rates at national level by 9% after Njombe 14.8% and Iringa 9.1%. The risk of HIV and AIDS is though high. (TACAIDS 2011-2012).

Mbarali District which is targeted program area has high HIV infection rate in the region, due to influx of visitors, fast local growing population, and cultural practices such as Polygamy, widow inheritance, multiple conjugal partners, cleansing widows, promiscuity among married men and married women and premarital sexual relationship. HIV/AIDS pandemic has claimed many lives and left many orphaned children in Mbarali District and some of them are HIV positive.

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Joel

Joel is an orphan who has lost both parents. We visited his home and this is what he had to say to us: “My name is Joel and I am 14 years old. I used to live in Kawetere in Mbeya region with my parents and everything was fine. My parents had a farm and they used to grow all kinds of food and we could go to school. Unfortunately my father died in 2010 then my mother followed in 2013. Then our life changed. There was no one to take care of us. We were there alone in the house that our parents left. Our aunt felt disappointment for us and she brought us here to live with her family. Her husband left his home two years past, no one knows where he his. The only problem now is that our aunt is frequently sick and she cannot support us even though she is trying. She used to sell firewood but now due to her health she can not do it. So now I am responsible for earning money for us. I go to the hills to collect firewood but it is not easy for me. I frequently have chest pains but I guess it is because I carry very heavy logs. Unfortunately I have no way out. My younger brother has a job shepherding goats and he earns 2000 Tsh./month ($1). I have another sibling who is living with my grandmother but we are better off here than she is. Neither my brother nor I go to school.

Through a holistic value based approach,( spiritual, emotional, and psychological), orphans and vulnerable children will have been directly empowered to live a healthy life by 2020.

There was no one to take care of us. We were there alone in the house that our parents left. Our aunt felt disappointment for us and she brought us here to live with her family. Her husband left his home two years past, no one knows where he his. The only problem now is that our aunt is frequently sick and she cannot support us even though she is trying. She used to sell firewood but now due to her health she can not do it. So now I am responsible for earning money for us. I go to the hills to collect firewood but it is not easy for me. I frequently have chest pains but I guess it is because I carry very heavy logs. Unfortunately I have no way out. My younger brother has a job shepherding goats and he earns 2000 Tsh./month ($1). I have another sibling who is living with my grandmother but we are better off here than she is. Neither my brother nor I go to school.

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Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!

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