Malawi, Africa is located approximately 12,800 miles from the United States. Roughly 12.2 million people populate the country of Malawi. Of the 12.2 million, about one million are orphans.

Lack of food, money, water and health-care are partly to blame. HIV/AIDS is responsible for over 500,000 of the orphans. An estimated one million people are infected with HIV/AIDS. Mothers pass the disease on to their newborns and never receive any form of treatment. Ultimately the parent or parents die, leaving older children to care for the younger siblings or leaving the child all alone. That cycle continues repeatedly every single day in Africa.

Most families have multiple children and don’t have enough money to feed and care for everyone, so they take them to shelters or simply leave them behind hoping that they will be better off. Most shelters simply have neither room nor the resources to take in every orphan. The need for food and clean water to drink is critical.

Throughout Africa, we find homes run by the SOS Children’s Village where orphaned children are given a better life. The villages are run by “mothers” with each mother being the dedicated head of a large household (with up to 150 children) that is run like a family. In Malawi, the SOS Children’s Villages thus support more than 5,000 orphans and other vulnerable children.

Despite her tremendous wealth, Madonna has made selfless contributions to our world and the lives of individuals. Her highly publicized adoption of a Malawi child brought global attention to the awful circumstances in which Malawi children live. Being victimized by the loss of her own mother as a child has not stopped this pop icon from paying it forward to make the world a better place. The lives of many can be positively affected by the actions of one person. Consider what could be accomplished if we all rolled up our sleeves and took such heroic action.

More work has to be done in all aspects of money, support or even a simple act of recognition.

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