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[pronut-hiv] Swaziland Farming School for HIV/AIDS Orphans

  • From: "Leela McCullough" <>
  • Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 13:15:09 -0500

Reuters Profiles Swaziland Farming School for HIV/AIDS Orphans
28 February 2006

Reuters on Thursday profiled a U.N.-run farming school in Sithobela, Swaziland, for children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illnesses. The school is part of the Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools, a Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations project that aims to "wean children ... off handouts and help them become self-sufficient," Reuters reports. FAO in 2003 launched the Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools in Mozambique, later opening similar schools in Kenya, Namibia and Zambia, with the aim of reaching about 1,000 youths between ages 12 and 18. The school in Sithobela, where 25 children currently are enrolled, teaches farming skills, as well as lessons on personal hygiene, money management and HIV prevention. "As parents die early [of HIV/AIDS-related illnesses] they are leaving a knowledge gap," Khumbi Chinonge, who heads the Sithobela school, said. The school in Sithobela is the first phase of the project in Swaziland, which currently has five sites, and FAO plans to enroll 30,000 children who have lost parents to HIV/AIDS at 1,250 schools. Chinonge said he hopes students who do well will stay after their initial course is complete and learn to become commercial farmers or teachers at similar schools. Swaziland has an adult HIV-prevalence rate of about 40%, and official figures estimate that there are about 80,000 HIV/AIDS orphans in the country, although aid workers put the figure closer to 100,000, Reuters reports (Harrison, Reuters, 2/23).

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