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DISCRIMINATION OF HIV+ CHILDREN IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM. By Kivairo Daniel Swegenyi [Kenya]. Fr.Angelo D’Agostino, SJ. (1926-2006). Identified discrimination of HIV+ children in an orphanage in Kenya Set up NYUMBANI, home for HIV+ orphans only

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fr angelo d agostino sj 1926 2006
Fr.Angelo D’Agostino, SJ.(1926-2006)
  • Identified discrimination of HIV+ children in an orphanage in Kenya
  • Set up NYUMBANI, home for HIV+ orphans only
  • Secured legal protection of HIV+ from discrimination in schools
  • Visit www.nyumbani.org
two special projects that were born out of discrimination
Two special projects that were born out of Discrimination
  • NYUMBANI Children Of God Relief Institute, Nairobi- Kenya—see www.nyumbani.org
  • St.Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School, Kibera-Nairobi, Kenya—see www.sagnairobi.org
kenya statistics
Kenya; statistics
  • Population of 32million[1999], about 50% below 18yrs
  • About 1.5million since then died, left 1.7million orphans. 60% of these lost parents to HIV/AIDS
  • At least 120 000 children are HIV+, 80% through Mother to Child Transmission [MCT]
  • Prevalence rate about 6%, down from 13% in 2000

Visit: www.aidskenya.org

education a historical battle ground
Education: a historical battle ground
  • Soon after independence, many countries have had to confront challenges in the education sector.
  • Not only to provide affordable nationally as well as globally relevant education, but also
  • to encourage families and whole communities to give equal education opportunities to every child; in particular with regard to the boy-child dilemma
  • Then enter HIV/AIDS!
hiv aids school and children
Today’s generation of children have been born into a world where HIV/AIDS is a harsh, unavoidable reality. A situation that their time at school can help them to prepare for.

Sadly, for these children, HIV/AIDS is not a matter for study like poetry to be exalted or mathematical formulae to be applied. They are to study it, to know about it, so that they may avoid it!

HIV/AIDS, School and Children
hiv aids spares none
HIV/AIDS spares none
  • Ironically, there are children hailing from HIV/AIDS affected households. Worse still, there are children who are themselves HIV+, and know it
  • Thus, HIV/AIDS has become one of the most serious challenges currently facing the education systems of the world, of developing countries in particular!
hiv aids related discrimination in school
HIV/AIDS related discrimination in school.
  • For the majority of HIV positive children, the access to mainstream school is repeatedly restricted or blocked even by the communities in which they live
  • The situation is not exactly better for the children from HIV/AIDS affected households.
  • Many cases have been reported of communities protesting against the admission of HIV positive children into school.
  • Lately Romania, and India have been in the news. They are not the only ones. Kenya has been there too. And there are many more.
  • Fighting the vice is extremely difficult and devastating for individual parents or guardians. More so for the child involved.
away with discrimination in schools kenya
Away with Discrimination in Schools—Kenya
  • 2001-Children Act, exclusive law on children; outlaws all form of discrimination, but is poorly enforced
  • 2003-Jan.Free primary education in public schools for all. But known HIV+ children are denied admission
  • 2003-May, using unorthodox means 3 HIV+ orphans finally get a place at a public school; A rookie’s [that’s me] synthesis of the Act above lands into the hands of the Vice President. 2months later attorneys are engaged, they refine the document and take the battle to court. Government and schools found guilty.
  • 2004 Jan. Government orders all schools to admit HIV+ children across the country. A STARTING POINT!
manifestation of the discrimination
Manifestation of the discrimination
  • Admitted, discovered or assumed to be HIV+, then rejected—sent away without regrets!
  • Outright denial of admission, especially where the status is known for sure
  • Admission, followed by separation from the rest, or separate treatment
  • Discrimination in the allocation of scarce resources
reasons for discrimination
Reasons for discrimination
  • I’m afraid, concretely speaking, NONE! Only
  • Fear-informed decisions
  • Social pressure, [read social stigma]
  • Cheap complacency, ‘since a law is in place therefore there is no discrimination!’
  • Certainly a hell lots of shallow excuses!
  • ADULTS are the worst perpetrators, for among the children [HIV+ and HIV– put together,] there is such a love,and concern for one another. Until an ‘average’ adult enters the picture!
meaning of hiv aids related discrimination in schools
Meaning of HIV/AIDS related discrimination in schools
  • “The access of HIV positive children to public school is one indicator of the level of information and knowledge about HIV/AIDS in community. When a HIV positive child is not allowed to attend a mainstream school it means that the teacher, the other children’s parents, and the community itself have a lot more to learn about HIV/AIDS.”

Mr. Poupard , UNICEF Representative Romania

pillars for change
HIV+ children at a school, cause adults connected to that school to learn more about HIV/AIDS through the school’s efforts to support the children

Schools can give HIV+ children a better understanding of their situation. HIV+children can learn to stand up for their rights and challenge discrimination

Pillars for change
  • HIV/AIDS is a serious challenge to education
  • ‘Without education, HIV/AIDS will continue its rampant spreading. With HIV/AIDS out of control, education will be out of reach.’ Piot, UNAIDS Chief.
  • Through education schools can help to reduce stigma and discrimination
conclusion
Conclusion
  • HIV/AIDS has a devastating impact on children’s right to education
  • Discrimination against HIVAIDS affected/infected children in education systems is common. It impedes both their access to formal schooling, and the treatment they receive in the classroom
  • It is driven by ignorance among parents, educators and community members, and fueled by school systems and government officials who fail to address the problem to ensure their inclusion.
  • As proud ‘owners’ of the planet, most rational of all beings, we still have a long way to go!
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