By Ashley Rowland
MAYANGAYANGA, Uganda Three teenagers live alone in a tiny concrete house off a dirt road, miles from the nearest village.
In their back yard is a graveyard where about a dozen family members are buried. Most of them died of AIDS.
Their father, the respected headmaster of the local primary school, died in 1991. He had AIDS and was the first to die from the disease in their area. Their mother died of AIDS three years later. Four of their brothers and sisters have since died, also from AIDS.
The siblings, now 16, 17 and 18, have lived in the house since their parents died, sometimes with a grandmother or aunt living next door. But they largely care for themselves, eating food from their garden or the mango trees outside their house.
"Im the mother and the father," said Justine Nanyanzi, the oldest of the familys three surviving children.
The familys story is not unusual. One million Ugandan children are orphans because of AIDS, according to Save the Children UK.
One of the biggest legacies of the AIDS epidemic in Uganda is the orphans who do not go to school. School is free in Uganda , but many families cannot pay fees for uniforms and supplies usually totaling about $150 a year much less children without parents.
Jim Steele, dean of business and information technologies at Chattanooga State Technical Community College and founder of Uganda Childrens Project, said most of the 280 children getting school fees through his program lost one or both parents to AIDS.
Former dictator Idi Amin killed the countrys educated class to stay in power, he said, and AIDS has kept the number of educated Ugandans low.
"You havent been able to repopulate the number of educated people you need to make the country run because you have these kids that cant afford school fees to get into the system," he said.
Edward Gitta is program manager of Orphans Project Hope, which works to pay school fees for children like the Nanyanzis. The program has paid school fees for the siblings, and the two eldest will enter a university this year.
"We have a generation which never went to school," he said.
E-mail Ashley Rowland at firstname.lastname@example.org