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What’s the problem?

Over a million children in southern Africa are caring for a parent dying from AIDS — usually their mother — while they support several younger brothers and sisters too.  They live in extreme poverty trying to feed their family at the age of 12 or 15 with no job skills and very little education. 

Ninty percent of all the AIDS orphans in the world live in southern Africa.
Avert 2009

Having no adult in their lives, these children often face exploitation and abuse. Hungry and nearly homeless every day, they are extremely vulnerable to physical exploitation, social discrimination, rape and even child slavery.  They suffer emotional neglect long before they are actually orphaned.

Then their parent dies and they think it’s their fault  — that they didn’t do enough to save them. The child does not know the inevitability of AIDS without treatment; they just know the most important person in their lives died while they were caring for them. 

Try to imagine what your own child would do in those circumstances, and you can understand the raw courage and amazing character these children display every day just to survive.

Click here to meet the children.

Meet the children

What’s the solution?

Just as these traumatized and exhausted children are on the brink of living in the streets, loving neighbors are stepping in to help them maintain their family home -- even without a full time parent living there. These are known as “child-headed families”.  With typical African ingenuity, small groups of local volunteers are taking charge of their community’s children as each family cycles downward. 

By 2015 one third of ALL children in southern Africa will be orphans.
World Health Organization 2008

The overwhelming number of deaths from AIDS and the orphans that are left behind is a slow-motion emergency five times the size of Haiti’s earthquake crisis. Both tragedies have overwhelmed any organized program to care for patients in hospitals or place the children in orphanges. No society could keep up with the flood of deaths that has spiked 57% since the year 2000.

Meet the children

What we do...

Abelana raises money to offer regular support to the neighbors and friends who have come together to prop up these children both before and after their parent dies. These community-based organizations (CBOs) are the only safety net left as government and larger charities churn through paperwork delays and the ever-expanding crisis. 

Paying for what the children need out of their own pockets, these local heroes struggle to make ends meet. Abelana identifies them through personal contacts and provides regular financial support.  We can guarantee that 100% of your donation will be spent on daily support for the children or to expand services.

These people have nothing but love and a little time to offer the kids, but it is just enough to keep these children off the streets and out of prostitution.
Jazmin West, Abelana 2009


When you click on the Donate button, a PayPal page labeled "Dollars for Change - Abelana" will open. While Abelana waits for our own 501(c)3 IRS non-profit status, Dollars for Change has set up a separate account for us. All funds collected go directly to our projects. You will receive a tax-deductible receipt from Dollars for Change for your records... thank you.


What We Do...