Siaya- Kenya (PANA) -- Visiting US Senator Barrack Obama Sunday petitioned President George Bush to urgently consider increasing funding to Kenya to intensify the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Obama, who was moved after witnessing the pathetic condition of orphans and vulnerable children under care of their grandmothers in a project he had sponsored in the western Kenya town of Siaya, asked the US embassy in Kenya to recommend to President Bush the need to increase funding in support of the orphans.
The Illinois Senator is sponsoring a 1.
2 million Kenya shillings project known as Senator Obama orphans and vulnerable children project (1 USD = 72 Kshs).
It is funded through the Care Kenya NGO and its objective is to mitigate economic impact by economically empowering the elderly grandmothers through revolving funds.
It also helps to enhance the capacity of the grandmothers to meet the basic needs of their grandchildren whose parents have died of the disease.
The Obama project is currently supporting 2306 orphans and vulnerable children under care of 1174 grandmothers.
"I am impressed by the work being done by the old women some of whom are over 80 years, in caring single-handedly for the orphans.
But their efforts should be supplemented by all," Obama said after touring the project in a rural settlement near Siaya Township, some 390 km west of Nairobi.
But he was at the same time saddened by the burden the old women were made to undergo while taking care of their grandchildren left behind by their sons and daughters due to HIV/AIDS related deaths.
The US Senator traces his paternal roots in the Siaya district of Kenya, where his late father Barrack Obama Snr hailed from.
While in the country, Obama visited his late father's rural home in Siaya to meet his grand mother and other relatives.
His father, a Harvard trained Kenyan economist, married Obama's mother while they both studied in the US, but later separated.
He died in a road accident in 1982.
"The difference of time when the old women were brought up and the now emerging burden they have to carry in taking care of the orphans and vulnerable is so wide that there must be help if they are to continue offering the vital services," said Obama, who is on a semi-official visit to Kenya.
Obama, meanwhile, commended efforts being taken by the Kenya government in conjunction with rural based communities to fight HIV/AIDS pandemic in the areas.
Obama who is accompanied by his wife Michelle and their two daughters, gave hope to Kenyan children telling them that they "had the chance of making it in life" if they worked hard and competed with their peers in the rest of the world.