The Fox family have seen at first hand the suffering when families are ripped apart by AIDS. Numerous friends and staff helping them on various projects have been lost to AIDS. It is what happens next that is deeply disturbing.
One of the many devastating results of this disease is that families of children (an average family has 5 or 6 children), are left orphaned. The social structure in Tanzania dictates that the relatives of the children will take them in and care for them. However, in reality the relatives, with 5 or 6 children of their own can not afford to feed and clothe the orphans thrust upon them. In many cases, they will themselves die of AIDS.
With the most productive members of society lost, those left behind are disadvantaged and plunged into a spiral of poverty. At a time when Grandmothers should be easing back on work load, instead they suddenly have an extended family to feed. School attendance is usually the last thing on the family's mind and the older children have to help cultivate, carry water and firewood, feed and look after the younger children. As the relatives are overwhelmed their own children take precedence resulting in many orphans being neglected with little or no food, love and essentially becoming slave labour at home and in the fields. Some will stay and live in poverty, others run away to the towns where they end up on the streets, begging, stealing, or turning to prostitution. Survival rates amongst orphans is very low, not because of the disease but due to neglect.