Daniel, Lucas and Carlos Manhica were orphaned when their father and mother both died of AIDS. In Mozambique’s Gaza province, an estimated 88,000 orphans under the age of 17 have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The Manhica brothers’ losses were later compounded by the malaria-caused death of their caretaker grandmother and a fire that destroyed their small home.
Today, 16-year-old Daniel and 14-year-old Lucas, pictured, live with their younger brother Carlos in a sturdy two-room house built by Habitat Mozambique, one of 435 constructed last fiscal year for orphans and other vulnerable groups in the southeastern African country.
Laughter once again peppers the imaginative trio’s conversations. Habitat-provided mosquito nets and water-treatment kits ensure that the brothers’ living environment remains healthy. And windows offer outlets to fresh air — and a view of the open spaces where new games wait to be invented.