In February 2019 I worked with the charity AIDS orphan documenting the lives of people in the village of Ahero, in the Nyanza region of Western Kenya. Ahero had been hit hard by the AIDs pandemic, losing all but 8 of the village men to the virus leaving the women to support their families, often while ill themselves, when they died it fell to the surviving grandparents or other family members to pick up the load.
The village was slowly rebuilding, though HIV was still at epidemic levels, with antiretroviral drugs available at the government hospitals the virus wasn’t the death sentence it once was.
Many of the children in the village rely on schools set up by charities such as AIDs Orphan. These schools not only enable education but have feeding programs as many of the children are malnourished and often HIV positive.
Yesterday Alfred, a villager who was my translator at the time, contacted me asking if I was Ok and if I’d been ill with Covid -19. When I asked how he was and the women we had photographed were faring he explained that due to the schools closing and no access to the feeding programs many children are now suffering from malnourishment and women are unable to feed their families.
The following images are of Phoebe and her son Junior who was five years old at the time. Phoebes husband died of AIDs and she supports 3 children on her own, earning around 33 British pence a day for a full days work. When these images were taken Junior was in the school program and recovering from malnourishment – here he was getting ready to go to school, his dream to become an airline pilot – now Pheobe is once again struggling to feed her family.