In 2003 Sigrid became World Vision’s Ambassador for HIV/AIDS
Orphans, recognising the devastating effect this pandemic is having
on children globally.
Sigrid Thornton has been a World Vision supporter for 18 years and
has traveled to projects in both African and Asian countries with
Travelling to Africa in her role as World Vision Ambassador in 2004,
Sigrid witnessed the effect of HIV/AIDS on children and communities
first hand and the work WV is doing to address the pandemic.
HIV/AIDS is predicted to leave 25 million children orphaned in
Africa by 2010.
“It’s like all the world wars put together and a lot worse. It
just leaves the kids and the grandparents behind, everything else is
just gone,” explains Sigrid.
“Humanity is facing one of its biggest challenges ever in halting the
spread of HIV/AIDS. Already there are more than 12 million children
in Africa orphaned through this disease.
Unless we stop the spread through education and prevention, Asia
will also be ravaged. Australians can help stop this from happening,
and by working with World Vision, I hope to encourage people to do
what they can.”
Sigrid and World Vision urges Australians to help fight the
HIV/AIDS pandemic by sponsoring a child in a high prevalence area.
This initiative will support World Vision’s work in education,
prevention and increasing access to affordable treatment for
HIV/AIDS in their development projects throughout the world.
High prevalence areas are parts of the world where infection rates
are either already alarmingly high – such as 34% in Zimbabwe - or
countries like Thailand where the current prevalence is low (2%) but
rates are expected to increase dramatically.
“The scale of the pandemic is staggering but Australians can do
something about it,” said Dr Sekai Shand, World Vision’s
Director of Advocacy and Communications. “Every mother that can be
kept healthy to look after her family is a step in the right
direction. Every child that can be educated about the disease is a
victory in this winnable war.”
The new initiative was launched on the eve of World AIDS Day by
World Vision Ambassador Sigrid Thornton as part of a broader
campaign to raise awareness of the pandemic’s impact on
communities around the world.
Sigrid was joined at the launch by South African activist Angie
Diale, who has been working with World Vision to break down the
stigma and discrimination associated with being HIV positive.
Overcoming stigma and discrimination is the theme for this year’s
World AIDS Day.
“With the right approach and support from the international
community, the tide of people succumbing to HIV/AIDS can be
stemmed,” said Angie Diale. “HIV/AIDS continues to devastate
families, communities and countries in Africa. We cannot just let
this continue. Australia and her citizens have a duty to play their
part in responding to this pandemic.” Money raised through this
sponsorship will be used in community development programs with
particular elements focused on HIV/AIDS education and prevention. In
countries with prevalence rates of 5% or higher, at least 15% of all
funds spent in the field will be on programs to combat the spread of
the disease, incorporated into a broader community development
“HIV knows no international boundaries,” said Dr Shand.
“Unless we take steps now, it is only a matter of time before this
pandemic threatens all parts of the world. Failure to act is a tacit
acknowledgement that the rising death toll is acceptable. It is