One of the rarely told stories in Tanzania is that of the grandparents who care for children orphaned by AIDS. Research with recent data reveals the enormous burden that orphaning is exerting on the extended family in general grand parents – often grandmothers in particular. Elderly women are among the most vulnerable and marginalized members of the society.
The strain of caring for orphans is telling on female-headed households – many of these households are headed by elderly women often grandmothers, who step in to raise orphans and vulnerable children when their own children sicken and die. Grand mothers care for around 40 per cent of all orphans in Tanzania (UNICEF)
Evidence also show that poverty rates in households with elderly people are up 29 per cent higher than in households without.
On our Bibi Program the focus is:
- Strengthening the capacity of elderly families to protect and care for orphans and vulnerable children by prolonging their lives, providing economic, psychosocial and other support.
- Mobilizing and supporting community based response for example increasing elderly access to resources and services.
- Raise awareness at all levels through advocacy and social mobilization to create a supporting environment for children and families affected by HIV and AIDS.