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CoSponors Needed for Orphans Bill
4/13/2004
Your help is needed to pass landmark bipartisan legislation to help AIDS orphans and vulnerable children. We need an overwhelming number of co-sponsors for H.R. 4061, the Assistance for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2004, to increase chances of it passing the full House in time for Senate consideration this year. Please call your members today, 1-800-270-0309, and ask them to become a co-sponsor of H.R. 4061. If your member is a Republican, ask them to call Rep. Rohrabacher's office(R CA-46); if a Democrat, they should call Rep. Lee (D CA-09).

H.R. 4061 provides a comprehensive response to the ever-growing number of orphaned children around the globe. USAID, UNAIDS, UNICEF, and the US Bureau of the Census are providing new – and alarming – statistical information on orphans and the effect of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • Every 14 seconds, another child is orphaned by AIDS. Without parents, these children are left without food, shelter, education, and protection.
  • Without HIV/AIDS, the percentage of orphans in those regions would be declining due to improving adult mortality rates. Instead the numbers of growing.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, home to 25 million Anglicans, there were more than 34 million orphans in 2001 – 11 million due to AIDS.
  • In Asia, with its larger population, orphans are a smaller percentage of the overall population but a much larger total number – 65.5 million in 2001. While the prevalence of AIDS is lower in Asia and therefore the number of AIDS orphans lower – 1.8 million – the present rapid spread of HIV may cause an exponential leap in AIDS orphans.
H.R. 4061 is essential not only to deal with the humanitarian crisis of orphans, but also to reduce the threat of conflict because children without hope are more likely to be recruited by militias, rebel armies and terrorists. The bill would:

PROVIDE TREATMENT, CARE AND SUPPORT FOR ORPHANS by expanding the capacity of communities to take care of the basic needs of orphans. The bill also promotes school nutrition, psychosocial support and protection of the rights of orphans as key building blocks of a comprehensive response.

EXPAND EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ORPHANS by encouraging countries to eliminate barriers to education such as school fees which disproportionately affect orphans and girls. In Uganda, when debt relief funds were used to eliminate school fees enrollment increased by 40 percent.

ENSURE ACCOUNTABILITY OF PROGRAMS FOR ORPHANS through monitoring and evaluation criteria established in the legislation.

The bill also provides improved coordination of orphans programs to ensure effective oversight of the response. The Episcopal Church has been an important advocate in fighting the AIDS pandemic and Executive Council in February of 2001 specifically addressed the plight of AIDS orphans. This bill would be an important step toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.



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