85% of our total operating expenses fund programs for children. So the majority of your dollars go toward exactly what you intended - supporting children in poverty.
Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI) has been deeply inspired by this year’s Worlds AIDS Day theme “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation”.
According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now over 35 million people living with HIV, including 3.2 million children. Worldwide, 17.8 million children under 18 have been orphaned by AIDS – a figure expected to rise to 25 million by 2015. DCI believes that education is the key to stopping the poverty cycle and preventing the spread of diseases like AIDS.
In honor of World Aids Day, on December 1, 2014, DCI organized rallies in the districts of Dhaka, Feni, Hobiganj, Nilphamari and Patuakhali. DCI also organized an AIDS Information Seminar and Rally at our health clinic in the Kallayanpur slum.
The slum is home to some 9000 residents and is a high risk area for infection. This event was open to both men and women receiving medical support from the clinic and all other people of the slum, specially the youth. We showed an AIDS information video and gave basic information, emphasizing how to protect from HIV infection. The clinic’s Project Manager, Mr. Lucky Baki, opened the program and gave a short speech about the disease. Our doctors then clearly explained about AIDS and Mr. Jamal Romel and Chief Coordinator Salma Qadir led a discussion on the disease. Participants asked questions, which our doctors answered in clear and simple terms. At the end of the program we arranged a rally with the banner of World AIDS Day across the entire Kallayanpur slum area, campaigning among thousands of people.
AIDS has been the biggest epidemic of our time, killing over 39 million people, with over 78 million infected. DCI’s primary country of operation is Bangladesh, which fortunately has a HIV rate of less than 0.1%. Despite the relatively low incidence of HIV, however, Bangladesh harbors many of the major risk factors associated with an HIV/AIDS epidemic. It is one of the world’s most densely populated countries, with over 160 million people living in an area slightly smaller than the state of Iowa. Moreover, Bangladesh is surrounded by countries with much higher rates of HIV/AIDS, such as India, Nepal, and Myanmar.
With one of the world’s poorest health infrastructures, an epidemic of AIDS in Bangladesh would cripple society and cause an unmanageable number of AIDS orphans. Bangladesh has neither the expertise nor the financial capacity to handle this kind of disaster. DCI is aware of the looming danger and is working to prevent an AIDS outbreak in Bangladesh. In line with our mission to protect vulnerable children, we create public awareness of the disease through health education. AIDS awareness helps prevent the spread of the disease as well as other sexually transmitted diseases that afflict the people. DCI believes that eradicating ignorance and encouraging prevention are the only ways that Bangladesh will be able to avert an AIDS epidemic. We greatly appreciate your support in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Although DCI is focusing mainly on child labor and other important issues related to children’s rights, we acknowledge the importance of this day and pledge to continue creating greater awareness about HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh, doing all we can to prevent the spread of this devastating virus.
Thank you in advance for any World AIDS Day activities that you undertake.
Ehsan Hoque, MBBS, Ph.D.
Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)