Faces of Angels
Real Stories of AIDS-affected Children in the Kibera Slums
by Sandhira Wijayaratne
The AIDS epidemic that has devastated much of sub-Saharan Africa is felt much worse in extremely populated areas like the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya—one of the largest and poorest informal settlements in the world. In its destruction of families, HIV/AIDS not only contributes to an alarming death toll, but also to a rising tide of AIDS-affected children—millions of orphans and other vulnerable kids whose futures appear bleak at birth. Add to that the harrowing pitfalls of growing up in slum life, and the tragedy becomes clear.
But there is hope. Grassroots organizations at the local level are taking up the call to save their communities from within. Angels of Hope-Kibera is one such institution. Founded in 2010 by then twenty-two year old Regynnah Awino, a native Kiberan, this school has given more than forty AIDS-affected children living in the slum a chance to embrace a future they weren’t born with. Attending Angels of Hope is free for these kids, with the overwhelming majority of operating costs coming straight from Regynnah’s own scant pockets. Always struggling with funds, Angels of Hope has had to cut programs vital to the progress of these children.
This project aims to ease that loss. By introducing you to the pictures and stories of many of the kids who attend this school, Faces of Angels looks to not only move readers to care about these children, but to also dispel lingering misconceptions surrounding them. They are not all the same, and certainly, they are not hopeless. The very uplifting work that Regynnah and this school have already done is proof of that. Any proceeds made from the sale of this book will go directly to Angels of Hope-Kibera as it continues to achieve its mission.
Student at Johns Hopkins University
Under the Red Bandana Published November 28, 2011