Susan Hunter: AIDS-Orphan Veteran, Advocate and Acclaimed Author Receives Twana Twitu’s First Annual Children’s Award.

May 06, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Twana Twitu, a New York-based not-for-profit organization, will award her the honor at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, White Plains, NY during the organization’s third Fundraising and Awareness Gala. Event proceeds will go directly towards orphan empowerment. “Despite progress in some areas, children are still the missing face of AIDS in the global response to the pandemic, says Ann Veneman, Executive Director, UNICEF, “Less than 10 per cent of the children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by AIDS receive public support or services.”

For the past five years, Twana Twitu has supported AIDS orphans through the provision of nutritional, clothing and psychosocial support. The organization empowers them by improving their living standards and enabling access to education. “We give them love and emotional support because they deserve it,” says Mwende Edozie, Twana Twitu Founder & Chair “but we arm them with good health and education because they need it and because without it, they remain marginalized. These two are in combination, a start out of poverty.” Several of Twana Twitu’s 220 orphans are HIV-positive. With close monitoring from a local mission hospital, the group provides them special care inclusive of antiretroviral therapy.

Hunter’s works which include Children on the Brink, have helped Twana Twitu structure its care. Developed by Hunter and UNICEF in the 1990’s, the publication is the first prototype community-based care program for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. Black Death: AIDS in Africa, described as “one of the five best books published on AIDS epidemic” by the London Times and AIDS in America, her latest book, which Alicia Keyes describes as impressive and bound to “open your eyes and challenge what you think about AIDS in America,” are among Hunter’s authored works.

“AIDS is devastating,” Dr. Sarah Onyango, Twana Twitu Vice Chair asserts, “and being orphaned by AIDS – more so in a developing country, is even more devastating. Our focus at Twana Twitu is not only to make it more bearable for these orphans, but also to develop them into community members reaching their maximum potential.”

A New York-based grassroots organization, Twana Twitu’s outreach extends beyond the orphan families it serves. Through advocacy, the group educates its community on HIV/AIDS prevention and management; it sensitizes members towards AIDS orphans compelling community members to embrace, love – and own, these orphans. When translated, the group’s name, Twana Twitu means “our children” in the Kenyan language Kikamba. “These children must be ours,” says co-Vice Chair Caroline Mueke, “They are tomorrow’s teachers, doctors and leaders. If only for that reason alone, we must invest in them. With vigor.”

Twana Twitu and its event details can be found at