Orphaned And Vulnerable

March 24th 2011, Busia –By himself, he washes his laundry and makes a meals to be shared amongst his two brothers and a sister.

Alone, he feeds the chickens, burns the charcoal and now he has a cow.

Alone, he fights off an arrogant neighbor who want to grab their only land.

Alone, he sleep. even though he is only 13-years-old,  this little orphaned and vulnerable child has gone through harsh times, he wants nothing more than a surveyor to determine the acreage of their Shamba and end a long standing dispute with his neighbor.

Read a story of Aron

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Orphaned And Vulnerable

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Asked why he continue working yet he has severe chest problem, the 13 year old orphan says he has no one to feed him, he has no option but to continue working.

He has no money to go for medical checkup, his elder brother who had earlier deserted them is back home from Nairobi where he has been looking for a job.

“He went to Nairobi without informing us, we were worried, we even assumed he died, now he  is back, he cannot even care for us, he says the city frustrated him, that’s why he returned, without a penny” Arons Nyamenya Omondi says.

“My parents died in the 90’s, at that time, I was very young” Aron, an orphan and vulnerable child tells Women eNews Kenya

“We have been living here, just the three of us” Aron narrates from their home in Butula division Western Province of Kenya, am happy my aunt who lives in Bungoma accepted to take care of my three siblings” he tells us outside their Shamba in Marachi Central location, Secom village.

Aron says he does not miss his former school, Sikoma Primary, neither does he want to return to school, all he need is to be empowered economically, so far, he has a number of chicken and a cow.

He gets money from the sale of eggs and milk, he also burns charcoal which is taking toll on his health, it’s been four years since he started burning charcoal, he tells us, “Since I have no one to help, I have no option but continue choking in the dusty smoky work” he says, wiping dust from his eyes.

When the eggs and charcoal fail to fetch him money, Aron seeks menial jobs in the community.

The 13 year old says he takes time to visit his two younger brothers both in class 8 at a school in Bungoma, he also visits her sister, who completed her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education last year, Aron says she is now pregnant.

While Aron can handle various household chores, he appeals for assistance to end a long land dispute with his neighbor, he want the acreage of their Shamba determine since his neighbor has planted Napier grass on their parents land.

“The title of the land is in the name of my grandfather” he tells us “we could one day be landless” he says adding that finding a voluntary survey to measure the land has been his nightmare.

Aron says he has on several times sought help from Secom village chief, but his intervention has failed.

The offending neighbor constantly threatens the little boy asking him to get a surveyor or else he lose the land, a costly assignment for Aron.

According to  August 2009 report by  Boston University Center for Global Health and Development  in collaboration with University of Nairobi Institute for Development Studies titled  Kenya Research Situation Analysis on Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children, Providing care and support for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children like Aron is one of the biggest challenges Kenya faces today.

The report says HIV/AIDS, fuelled by high poverty levels, is one of the main contributors to Orphaned and Vulnerable Children incidence in Kenya.

The number of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in Kenya is not known partly because of lack of a common country definition of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children, especially the term “vulnerable”.

The 2003 Demographic Health Survey found that 2.3% of boys and 1.9% of girls under age 15 are double orphans.

This proportion jumps to 25% for both boys and girls under age 18 who reported one or both parents dead.

UNAIDS estimates the total number of orphans to be between 990,000 and 1,400,000. In 1998 15.3% of households reported having foster children; details about why these children were not living with their parents is not available.

By Ngigi Kamau, Women eNews Kenya

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