In Africa millions of grandmothers (nyanya in Swahili) face overwhelming challenges brought on by the AIDS orphan crisis. In Kenya there are 2.5 million orphans; 900,000 have been orphaned by AIDS. It is estimated that 90 percent of these orphans are in the care of extended family, and at least 50% are cared for by their grandmothers.Under the strain of caring for up to 10 or more children, these older women can no longer continue working in their traditional capacities as farmers or hawkers of goods.Income is decreased, and the cycle of poverty and disease intensifies.
These dire circumstances may still become more severe. UNICEF estimated that by 2010, two-thirds of the more than 2 million Kenyan orphans will have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. At that time, over 25 million children worldwide will have been orphaned by the disease.