The Secret of Their Lives

A little girl at the HIV group home looks out the front door to a sunny courtyard.

Most of the children here don’t know they are HIV+. It’s too risky.

Their teachers don’t know. Their neighbors definitely don’t know because if they did, they would have to move again. They’ve moved eight times in ten years, all 28 children. If their teachers knew, they would be isolated and discriminated against or even kicked out of their pricey private school — a school they attend because they don’t have to inform the principal of their disease.

Most of these children don’t even know about the disease in their blood, the disease that killed many of their parents, robbed them of their life in their villages and that was likely passed to them at birth.

They just know that they have strict rules to follow.

Absolutely no fighting. No rough housing. If they get a cut or a scratch, they have their own first aid kit. And they have Mr. Huang.

“The kids are happy now,” Mr. Huang says, his face worn and tired, his spiky, graying hair hinting at his age.

When children pass through the living room of the apartment, they stop to grab his hands or talk to him and his eyes soften as he greets them lovingly.

“They are too young,” Mr. Huang says. “They don’t understand their fate. But as they get older, they will learn. The discrimination will start. They will always have to keep their secret.”

Continue reading “The Secret of Their Lives”

An Extraordinary Opportunity to Help Children…

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He was 6 years old. And he lived alone in a shack off the side of the road.

His mother and father had both passed away, and his only living relative, an 84-year-old grandmother, was afraid to take him in. He was not welcome at school or by the local orphanage. When his story was reported by the local news, some people left clothing and food on his doorstep. But no one would go near him. He lived in total solitude, without anyone to love or comfort him.

This is Brady’s story — the story of one boy living with HIV in China.

But this story represents thousands more children who are struggling to survive in communities that shun them because of a disease they were born with. Worse than HIV itself — a disease now manageable with proper medication — is the unbelievable rejection so many of these children face, even by their own families.

This is a heartbreaking story. But like many of the stories we tell at Holt, this one is brimming with hope. Continue reading “An Extraordinary Opportunity to Help Children…”