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Award of Excellence
Carolyn Cole
Los Angeles Times


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"VULNERABLE" Four-year-old Schle Tsabedze will become an orphan if her father Jerry Tsabedze, 25, dies from AIDS. The Swaziland sugarcane cutter is unable to take the anti-retrol virus mediation he needs because of a liver disorder.

Swaziland has the world's highest know rates of HIV infection and AIDS. Approximately 70,000 children younger than age 17 have lost one or both parents to the virus. Funerals have replaced weddings as the main family ceremony. People struggle to buy medicine and borrow to pay for funerals. Breadwinners die and families plunge into poverty and hunger. Many families are made up of orphans and grandparents. No one can calculate the cost, but the suffering can be seen in their faces. The children of Southern Africa can only try to endure the successive waves of infection, illness and death.


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