CAMEROON, Central Africa -- Children in Cameroon often sing and dance in their villages -- but the uplifting songs hide a sad reality all across the country.
"Some of them are abandoned by their parents. Some don't have a mother, no father," said Pastor Raymond Koffi, CBN director in Cameroon. "[The parents] are dead or they leave them."
The AIDS epidemic has had a devastating impact on Cameroon. And the spread of the disease has left a long trail of orphaned children like these.
"When HIV/AIDS got here the children were abandoned, people living with HIV/AIDS were abandoned," Maria, who runs a village orphanage, told CBN News.
"And I started helping out the children," she continued. "Because we needed to bring awareness so that families would accept children who had become orphaned because they had been abandoned like their parents."
Many of those abandoned live on the streets or wherever they can find a place to lay their heads. Several local orphanages are filled to capacity and few are equipped to provide the proper care for the many needs the children have.
The Christian Broadcasting Network's Orphan's Promise heard about the problem and jumped into action.
"CBN did a big, big job here," Pastor Koffi said.
The group helped in building a new house for orphans located in the Ebolowa village. The children now liken their new living quarters to "Heaven" -- a far cry from where they were living before.
Children like little Veronica slept in dilapidated houses. When it would rain, the roof would leak badly and many of the orphans would eventually get sick from not being protected from the elements.
The village chief expressed gratitude for CBN's help from so far away.
"We can only thank you from the depths of our heart," he said. "We may not be able to offer you gifts, but what we offer you are the feelings that we have towards you, which are much, more important than all the gold in the world."
Also, thanks to CBN's Operation Blessing International, the kids in the orphanage have clean drinking water.
"The water situation was extremely difficult because it was awful to look at," Maria said. "Those who came to see this, like the pastor, he saw how we drank the bad water. But now the situation has changed. The water is clean."
"There is no more diarrhea, no more problems that are water related," she continued.
And the blessings extend beyond the Ebolowa village.
"There's clean water to drink or to use, and today the well [became available] for all the population of this region, of this city [to use]," Koffi said.
Maria added that CBN encouraged her to continue her work with the orphans.
"If CBN had not come, I would have given up," she said. "I can only wish many blessings upon CBN so that the Lord Jesus can inundate with blessings all who work there."
--Originally aired April 27, 2012.