December 4, 2012
The Kenyan village of Nyumbani is home to 938 children orphaned by AIDS and 97 grandparents who care for them. The Catholic aid group Nyumbani established the village of the same name with the permission of the Kenyan government in 2006. In the village, the aid group pairs the children with grandparents who have lost their middle-aged children to AIDS and other causes. Each grandparent cares for about 12 children. Everyone in the village has been touched by HIV, but because of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), no one has AIDS. Sister Mary Owens, executive director of the aid group, says that only 80 children in the village have HIV.
Funding for the Nyumbani village comes primarily from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), but ideas are underway for the village to become self-sustaining. Plans include a tree-growing project, growing edible fish in an aquaponic setting, and farming. American John Noel started the tree-growing venture four years ago, hoping that profits will completely fund the village after 10 years.
UNAIDS reports that sub-Saharan Africa, where Kenya is located, contains about 69 percent of all people with HIV. Only 61 percent of Kenyans with HIV have access to ARVs. In contrast, all residents of Nyumbani -- a name that means "home" in Swahili -- are covered by ARVs and have food, water, and care.