Traveling the planet and searching for cool charity initiatives
Dutch photographer Adriaan Backer, 37, is travelling around the world with a single mission: to reveal the true face of the silent assassin, AIDS, and to break down the taboos and silence surrounding the HIV virus. Many of his photos were made in Hillbrow, a neighbourhood in Johannesburg South Africa that is considered to be the “cesspit of Africa”.
This is where the poorest of the poor live – the unemployed, refugees from other parts of Africa, drug and alcohol addicts and countless AIDS orphans who have no relatives anymore and who have come to Johannesburg in search of help or a job. They are met by gangsters, who force both boys and girls into prostitution. The child prostitutes get many clients because with its many hotels Hillbrow is one of the most important stopover points for South Africans when they are travelling. The consequence is that the children contract HIV/AIDS and subsequently infect thousands of travellers, who in turn spread the virus throughout the country. Adriaan’s camera tells the story of the children, but also of the hopeful initiatives surrounding them.
Every evening, the Twilight Children shelter opens its doors for street children. In their “bakkie” – the South African term for pick-up truck – staff drive around to distribute food and 30,000 condoms a month, while at the same time talking to traumatised children.
In her tiny home, Oma Morwese looks after 27 children of AIDS patients. Morwese has taken the children in because she does not want them to end up on the streets and fall into the hands of the prostitution criminals. But if you knock on Oma Morphese’s door late at night, there is a big chance the door will not be opened, because there are 27 matresses blocking the front door.
STOP AIDS NOW! helps Oma Morwese, Twilight Children and many other AIDS projects in developing countries through (sexual) education, the support of AIDS orphans, caring for the sick, providing affordable medication or the development of a vaccine. AIDS needs to be fought on all fronts, because it is rapidly turning into the greatest disaster that has ever threatened the global community.
With thanks to Adriaan Backer