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World Vision to G8 leaders: Keep your commitments to fight AIDS, poverty

Fulfilled financial pledges from G8 countries to combat global poverty and disease will save the lives of millions of children.

May 2008

Hilda, with her grandmother Theresa, is among the millions of children affected by the AIDS pandemic.
Hilda, with her grandmother Theresa, is among the millions of children affected by the AIDS pandemic.
Photo ©2007 Nigel Marsh/World Vision
As the G8 summit approaches — the meeting of leaders from the world's wealthiest countries — World Vision calls on the G8 leaders to keep the promises they made to fight global poverty and AIDS and do their fair share to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Some progress has been made in the fight against poverty, but the G8 is not on track to fulfill its commitments.

Eight countries that can save children's lives

The G8, or "group of eight," represents the most powerful governments in the world — France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, and the United States. The leaders of these countries meet annually to discuss major global issues and make plans to address them. This summer, the summit is set to take place on July 7-9, in Hokkaido-Toyako, Japan.

At the 2005 summit, the G8 made a historic commitment to fight extreme global poverty and disease. World Vision, the ONE Campaign, and several other organizations played a pivotal role in prompting the G8 to make this unprecedented pledge.

The AIDS pandemic, hunger and malnutrition, malaria, and a host of other challenges keep millions of children around the world from reaching their full God-given potential. If the G8 countries keep the financial pledges that they have already made, millions of lives will be saved — lives like Hilda's.

Women and children suffer the most

Take action:

Read "A matter of life or death," a World Vision policy briefing that outlines the actions we are asking G8 leaders to take. (PDF file)

Speak out. Ask President Bush to keep his promise at the G8 summit this year to fight global AIDS and poverty.

Hilda, 10, lost her mother to AIDS, and she lives with HIV in the remote community of Samuye in central Tanzania.

For four years, Hilda's grandmother, Theresa, nursed her daughter without respite while simultaneously caring for her granddaughter. "When I didn't have money, I would take some maize and go to the roadside and sell it," she says. "I was trying my best and using my head."

Hilda's mother died from AIDS-related dehydration. One year later, Theresa feared that Hilda was dying, too.

One terrifying morning, Theresa carried her granddaughter to a health center more than four miles away. "I went crying the whole way," explained Theresa. "She was vomiting and had a running stomach, and for three days she hadn't eaten. Every time she threw up, I had to put her down.

"It took us two hours … and I was running. I thought she was going to die in my arms…"

'We must do more'

The story of Hilda and Theresa is not uncommon; it is stark reality for millions of children and families around the world. By 2010, an estimated 15.7 million children will be orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2006 alone, AIDS killed an estimated 380,000 children under the age of 15.

Fulfilled financial commitments from G8 countries to fight poverty and diseases, like AIDS, will drastically improve the quality of life for millions of children like Hilda.

World Vision is asking President Bush to keep the promises made at the 2005 G8 summit by:
  • Pressing Congress to pass and fund the Global AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Bill before the end of June, which would authorize $50 billion over five years to combat these diseases.
  • Ensuring that 10 percent of global AIDS funding continues to be set aside for the care of orphans and vulnerable children.
  • Securing adequate action by the U.S. government and other G8 countries to respond to increased child hunger and under-nutrition due to the rise in global food prices.

"The U.S. has been actively involved in addressing global poverty and AIDS, and along with other G8 countries, made courageous funding promises in 2005," says Craig Jaggers, World Vision's health and education policy adviser. "However, the U.S. has fallen short in fulfilling its share of the commitments it made. We must do more for those who are sick and impoverished around the world by fulfilling these promises and leading the charge for other G8 countries to do the same."

Crisis requires global response

Hilda, an AIDS orphans living with HIV herself, is one among millions of children worldwide whose lives depend on the G8 keeping its promises.
Hilda, an AIDS orphans living with HIV herself, is one among millions of children worldwide whose lives depend on the G8 keeping its promises.
Photo ©2007 Nigel Marsh/World Vision

Thankfully, intervention at the medical center brought healing to Hilda's body.

Assistance from World Vision and other community partners made it possible for Hilda to be tested for HIV and receive post-test counseling. A World Vision health specialist provides Hilda and Theresa with highly nutritious food and promised to help ensure that Hilda stays in school and finishes her primary education. And a group from the local Catholic church was assigned to care for Hilda and Theresa, providing food and counseling.

Care for the most vulnerable populations is made possible by individuals in affected communities, churches, and private organizations like World Vision, but the scale of the problem requires that the G8 countries do their share. The human toll caused by diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria is simply too large. Innocent lives are at stake.

Learn more

>> Read more about the Millennium Development Goals.
>> See World Vision's 2008 G8 policy briefing, "A matter of life or death," (PDF) which outlines actions that World Vision is asking the G8 to take.

Three ways you can help

>> Pray for the world leaders attending the G8 summit in July. Pray that they would make wise decisions that will help bring relief to those suffering from extreme poverty and disease, like Hilda and her grandmother, Theresa.
>> Speak out. Ask President Bush to keep his promise. Thank him for the courageous commitment he has made to fight AIDS and poverty, and encourage him to meet the prior commitments to increase funding for international poverty-focused assistance and the global AIDS fight.
>> Donate. Join World Vision in the fight against extreme global poverty and disease. Give a gift to provide life-saving food, water, medical care, and more to children and families.

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