South Africa has the highest population of AIDS/HIV infected adults. As a result, there are more than 2 million orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa. 450 new orphans a day! A team of four athletes from The North Face plan to run the 56 mile Comrades Marathon on May 30th, 2010 in an effort to raise money and awareness for the Vukukhanye program, which supports orphaned and vulnerable children in the town of Chesterville. Chesterville is visible from Comrades race course.
The highest rate of HIV infection in the WORLD is in KwaZula Natal region, which is the area surrounding the Comrades Marathon course. Forty percent of the adult population is HIV positive. Interestingly, over 90% of the children orphaned by this epidemic are NOT HIV positive. Because of the high rate of adult infections, the area surrounding the race course has the highest rate of orphans in the world.
We are raising money for the Vukukhanye program within the town of Chesterville, which is visable from the Comrades race course. Vukukhanye’s primary focus is the care and support of orphans and vulnerable children, a majority of which are under five years old. Vukukhanye, which means “Arise and Shine” in Zulu, supports 287 children, and the organization plans to increase its reach to at least 1,350 within three years. “Arise and Shine” reflects the people’s optimistic hope for the community of Chesterville and also their country, the hope that they will arise and shine and be examples to the world.
Listen to George tell his story of how a trickle of orphans turned into a tidal wave, and how he has worked with Starfish to support one community hit hard by AIDS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrgdwRLNoG0&feature=channel
Meet Carol, who herself cares for 97 children, and is the founder of Ikageng Itireleng, one of the projects that Starfish supports http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYOEU8CJuJ4&feature=channel
By supporting Starfish- we can ensure that these children get life, hope and opportunity to make something of their lives and become contributing members of their communities.
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Kami, Nikki, Mike, Ian, and Lizzy