AIDS Orphans Need Care, Protection and Education

Children and youthHealthSocial issues

Notes to broadcasters

Save and edit this resource as a Word document.

Worldwide, more than 14 million children under the age of 15 have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Many of these children become responsible for the care of younger brothers and sisters. Some become homeless, forced to beg for food and money to survive.

The following script is intended to help your adult listeners understand the importance of having a will and designating a guardian for dependent children, so that if their parents die, the children will be provided for, and sisters and brothers can stay together. The script also touches on the importance of keeping orphans in school.

There are three characters in this drama, in addition to a host and narrator. If you don’t have enough actors, the host can also play the part of narrator.





Thebe Moretse:
uncle of the orphans
Beauty Moretse:
Thebe’s wife
Grace Dingalo:
social worker

MUSIC [drum beats, moderate and lively tempo].

Welcome to our program today. Recently we’ve been discussing how AIDS affects children, especially children who lose both parents to this disease. The statistics are shocking. Fourteen million children under age 15 have lost one or both parents to AIDS. What happens to these children? Sometimes the very worst — they are separated from brothers and sisters, forced to leave school and find work, and sometimes must even live on the streets and beg just to survive. But does it have to be this way? The story you’re about to hear tells a different tale.

MUSIC [fade out music].

Thebe knew that his sister was going to die, but still, it was a shock when he received the news. Lucy died of AIDS. Her husband had died two years before. And now there was a new challenge. What would happen to Lucy’s children? We find Thebe and his wife Beauty in the kitchen, discussing just that.

SOUND EFFECTS [kitchen noises, pots and pans banging together]

We have no choice, Beauty. We have to take care of Lucy’s children. They are now like my own children, and I will not abandon them.

But Thebe…how can we take care of two more children? We hardly have enough to feed our own!

[Upset] But…where else can they go? You know that girl down the road whose mother died of AIDS? She had to leave school because there was no money to pay the school fees! The last thing I heard she was living and working on the street. I don’t want my nieces to end up on the street.

Look Thebe, I understand how you feel. But we can’t manage it.

So what would you do? Where else can they go?

I don’t know…but they will have to find another place.

No! I don’t want them to endup on the street! I won’t allow it!

SOUND EFFECTS [sound of door shutting]

SOUND EFFECTS [sound of Beauty crying and fade out]

To Beauty, the situation seemed hopeless. She knew that the best place for her sister-in-law’s children was with her and Thebe, where things would be familiar and they would be cared for. But at the same time, they had a problem. How could she and her husband possibly support two more children? They needed help. But…would help arrive?

SOUND EFFECTS [knock on door; footsteps and then door opening]

[answering the door] Yes? Can I help you?

Are you Mrs. Moretse?

Yes, I am.

Greetings. I’m Grace Dingalo, from the Family Aid Clinic. Is Mr. Moretse here? I’ve come to discuss his sister’s will.

Her will? I didn’t know she had one! How could she make a will? Let me get my husband. [Calling] Thebe!

SOUND EFFECTS [sound of Thebe entering room]

Yes, what is it? Oh, hello.

Good day, Mr. Moretse. I was telling Mrs. Moretse that I have come to discuss your sister’s will.

A will! I didn’t realize…

Perhaps your sister was too preoccupied to tell you. But she asked us to help her make a will before she passed away. At the Family Aid Clinic that’s one of the things we do. You know, your sister was very worried about what would happen to her children. And she understood the importance of education for their future. She wanted them to stay in school. She put that in her will.

[Unsure] Well…I don’t know how we can manage that.

Your sister made arrangements for that too, in her will. She left her house and a small piece of land to her children. She wanted you to hold the property in trust, and manage it. She hoped that, with access to her land, you and your wife would be able to support her children.

Well…yes…this all sounds helpful. But I’ll need to know more, and my wife and I need to discuss this.

I’ll leave a copy of the will here with you, so that you and Mrs. Moretse can discuss your sister’s will, and her wishes, in private. I will come back in a few days to answer any questions you might have.

Thank you so much. You have answered our prayers!

MUSIC [fade in music and hold under host]

Making a will is one way to protect your children in the future. Find a lawyer, a paralegal, a community leader, or a volunteer who can help you write a will. Making a will can allow children to stay together, to stay in school, to keep their family property and land, and to ensure a better future.

MUSIC [fade out music]


Contributed by Jennifer Pittet, Thornbury, Ontario, Canada, and Christine Davet, Toronto, Canada.

Reviewed by Iain McLellan, Consultant in international behaviour change communication, Montreal, Canada.

Information sources

To Help AIDS Orphans, Prolong Life of Parents, Population Council Researcher Tells US House International Relations Committee. Population Council Media Center.

Macan-Markar, Marwaan. What is Best for AIDS Orphans? Inter Press Service.

Children on the Brink 2002: A Joint Report on Orphan Estimates and Program Strategies. UNAIDS.

Janpeng, Jansuai, et al. Sang Fan Wan Mai Youth Group: Tiny steps by youth to battle the AIDS crisis. United Nations Development Program South East Asia HIV and Development Project.

Aids Orphans Education Trust Uganda.

International Conference on Child Labour. Oslo, 27 – 30 October 1997:
Relationships between Education and Child Labour Issues Paper;
Education and Child Labour Background Paper;
Social Mobilization and Child Labour Issues Paper;
Social Mobilization and Child Labour Background Paper;
Strategies for Eliminating Child Labour: prevention, removal and rehabilitation;
Synthesis document; International Labour Office. Geneva

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). New York