Young Heroes Program of NERCHA

$1,000, August 2006

The Young Heroes program of NERCHA is the National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS of Swaziland. Imagine that you’re 15 years old. Your father died five years ago. Two years ago, your mother got sick. You left school to help tend to her, and to care for your little brothers and sisters. You’ve tried to grow corn on your family land, but there’s a drought and you haven’t learned enough yet to be a good farmer. Now, your mother has died, too. In the midst of your grief and your fear for the future, questions keep you awake at night: What happens to us now? How will we live? AIDS has left 70,000 orphans in Swaziland; that number is projected to grow to 120,000 by 2010. Young Heroes’ goal is to keep these children alive, healthy and together as a family unit on their homesteads and in their communities, where they have the greatest sense of security and support.

Through the Young Heroes Web site (http://youngheroes.org.sz), created by PCV Steve Kallaugher, they attempt to find sponsors who will make monthly donations to support specific orphan families with funds for food and clothing. Launched in February 2006, Young Heroes to date has found sponsors for over 200 of the 800 children now enrolled.