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100 million AIDS Orphans? - 2002-05-09


This week, the United Nations held a special session on children. It brought together heads of state, ngo’s, children’s advocates and young people, themselves. One of the issues addressed was AIDS orphans.

On Wednesday, a leading advocate for children presented more than two million petition signatures to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The petitions call on the United Nations to make AIDS orphans a top priority.

The leader of the petition drive is Countess Albina du Boisrouvray, the founder of the FXB foundation, which cares for orphans around the world. She calls the petitions a symbolic safety net, with every signature a stitch of that net.

She says current estimates on the number of AIDS orphans in the next 10 to 15 years are too low. She says instead of 40 million, as predicted by UNAIDS, there will be more than 100-million as AIDS spreads in India, Russia, China and eastern Europe. She says poverty, lack of education, and gender inequality help spread the pamndemic.

Ms. Du Boisrouvray spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the issue.