Magazine article New Internationalist

Street Children in Zimbabwe

Magazine article New Internationalist

Street Children in Zimbabwe

Article excerpt

The estimated number of street children in Zimbabwe is 12,000. They are the casualties of the country's HIV/AIDS tragedy in addition to the economic and political turmoil. UNICEF reports that 34 per cent of adult Zimbabweans are HIV-positive. Life expectancy has dropped from 52 years in 1990 to a shocking 37 years. One million Zimbabwean children have already been orphaned as a result of AIDS-related deaths alone. Most of the estimated 300 people who die from AIDS-related illnesses each week are unable to afford treatment and are usually sent home to die after a brief and rarely helpful stay in hospital. (Zimbabwe has for the past four years experienced acute shortages of hard currency and essential imports, including medicines.)

With African traditions of communities caring for children eroding under such pressure, the orphans are often left struggling to care for their younger siblings. Street children face the constant threat of violence - often sexual. …

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