In the Picture: Orphaned and Ostracised- HIV in Africa with Carol Allen Storey

January 19, 2011
Watch the event here. 

By Antje Bormann

Broadcaster Sue Steward introduced Carol Allen Storey as one of the most fascinating photojournalists around. Carol Allen Storey’s photographic career started 10 years ago following a thorough rethink of a successful career in the fashion and beauty industry.

Photographs by Edmond Terakopian.

Carol Allen Storey documents the lives of women and orphans affected by HIV-AIDS in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. She focuses on the stigmatisation of HIV-AIDS sufferers and the indomitable spirit that keeps them going against the odds. Her stunning, emotionally-charged images had the room completely silent as she explained the fate of each subject.

She told the story of a woman who single-handedly looks after 32 children, all of them her nieces and nephews whose parents have already succumbed to AIDS, who had contracted the virus while caring for them.

She also told the story of the ‘dustbin boys’, a gang of feral children aged seven to 14 who live off what they can find on rubbish tips and outside slaughter houses, who take drugs to relieve boredom and as they grow older slip into gambling. In contrast, the gang also adopted the 6-month-old baby of a sex worker who had died from AIDS and take turns looking after the little one.

There were stories of children who, once diagnosed with HIV, are made to wear a red badge, a sign that sets them apart from their healthy – or simply as yet undiagnosed – classmates. The children sometimes don’t even know why they are wearing the badge, why they are not allowed to play with the other kids in the school yard.

Alice Fay, HIV Programme development advisor for the charity Save the Children shed some light on how children are treated once they are diagnosed. Children may be diagnosed and treated for HIV but will not be informed of their diagnosis until they are at least 8 years old, she revealed.

There were a number of questions to Carol Allen Storey and Alice Fay from the audience about measures taken by African governments to get the problem of HIV-AIDS under control, with one person saying that it had to start with educating men.