Orphans & Vulnerable Children
Caregivers and Vulnerable Children
Learn to COPE
Launched in 2005, the Community-Based Orphan Care, Protection and Empowerment project, or COPE, now operates in four countries — Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda — and has reached more than 100,000 AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children and their community-based caregivers. The project has two especially important features:
- First, it is community-based. It is helping local communities to better care for the orphans in their midst, thus honoring the African tradition of raising parentless children within the "extended village family," where children feel most secure.
- Second, it is comprehensive. The project keeps children in school, offers psychosocial support (including HIV-prevention education) and provides child-appropriate income-earning opportunities as well as vocational training so they can support themselves as adults.
"In Africa, many children are now orphans and others are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS," says an 18-year-old AIDS orphan and former street child who benefited from the kinds of help that COPE provides. "Only through education and attaining skills can this problem be solved." That young man is now a successful sculptor in Mozambique.
Caregivers ― grandparents, other extended family members, neighbors and the like ― in all four countries are much better equipped to nurture their young charges. Through COPE, they have increased access to resources such as food, medical care and education.