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Henan Strives to Prevent AIDS Orphaned from Being Marginalized

Early in the morning, an 11-year-old boy with an anonym Dang Xiaoqiang and 13 other AIDS orphans merrily joined other groups of teenagers and visited a number of places including a museum in Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province.

Organized by Sunlight Homeland in Xingzhuang Township, Weishi County of the province, the tour is part of the province's efforts to prevent orphans caused by AIDS from being marginalized.

By September 30 this year, the number of people living with HIV virus, most of whom had been infected by illegal blood transfusion, had totaled 30,387 on registration in Henan, of whom, 18,334 have developed into AIDS patients and 4,294 died of the disease.

According to Wang Jumei, deputy governor of Henan, there are 1,634 children who have been orphaned by AIDS in this central Chinese province.

Yang Wentao, a senior official with the Civil Affairs Bureau of Henan Province, said Sunlight Homeland was a prime form for Henan to render help to orphans left behind by AIDS victims.

So far, the province has built more than 20 Sunlight Homelands with special allocation from the government budgets. Each Sunlight Homeland is equipped with teaching staff and other helpers, and each tenant is subsidized monthly to the tune of 160 yuan (US$19.73).

"While ensuring these orphans having enough to eat and wear, we have to pay great attention to their psychological health," said Yang, who added they had been organizing a great number of exchange activities to enable the AIDS orphans to play with children who have a normal family.

Zhao Zhongquan, director of the committee for administration of Sunlight Homeland of Xingzhuang Township, where Dang Xiaoqiang stays, said the efforts to socialize orphans like Dang would help them well adapt into the mainstream of the society when they grow up.

(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2005)

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