The Children, Our Future

This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of InFlight Magazine, published by TCB media.

The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS is fighting to ensure that children and adolescents affected by this disease receive the global attention and help they so deserve.

By: Julie Graham, Features Editor, InFlight Magazine

All children have the right to life – the right to be given the chance to live happy, healthy lives where they can thrive in their schools, communities and families. The right to no longer be made to engage in demands that exceed their young years, nor be ravaged by disease and plagues of ignorance. Sadly, the situation for children facing major global pandemics like HIV/AIDS continues to be a major struggle. Whilst huge progress has been made, and continues to be made, in the world-wide fight against HIV/AIDS, the developments for children and adolescents are lagging behind and the epidemic risks are at an all-time high. The facts speak for themselves, and are truly frightening. According to UNICEF’s Seventh Stocktaking Report, 2016: • Children living with HIV (aged 0–4) face the highest risk of AIDS-related death compared to all other age groups.

  • Only half of HIV-exposed babies are tested for HIV by the recommended age of two months.
  • Of the 1.8 million children under 15 living with HIV, only half are on treatment.
  • More than 100 adolescents (10–19) died of AIDS every day in 2015.

An increased focus has got to be placed on this extremely vulnerable population, who are the very rock of our society’s future and deserve to be a top priority in the struggle against the disease. Children in every single region of the world are faced with the very real struggle presented by HIV/AIDS. As South Africans, we know this all too well. This includes those millions infected by the disease, but also those at the risk of infection and those suffering the massive consequences of having a family member or someone close to them with the disease.

Enter The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS (The Coalition) – a truly exceptional group of global donors, United Nations agencies, non-governmental agencies, and independent experts whose main concern is the lack of attention being paid to these children. Founded in 2005 with just five founding members, The Coalition now has 23 UN agencies, NGOs, donors and academic organisations as well as four Ambassadors (experts of their own experiences with HIV/AIDS who represent those affected at a grassroots level). The Coalition aims to ensure that children and adolescents receive the global attention they so strongly deserve in order to survive and to thrive at home, in their schools and in their communities.

I recently had the privilege of meeting a remarkable and passionate woman by the name of Corinna Csáky, manager of The Coalition. Csáky lives in the United Kingdom, and began working with children in extreme poverty in Ecuador over 20 years ago. Since then, she has lived and worked with children and families in Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Colombia and Peru, and continues to be deeply inspired by both the tragic injustices facing these children and their incredible resilience and ability to spearhead change despite their dire circumstances.

The full interview is available here (beginning on page 51) or in PDF form, here.