American Foundation for Children with AIDS

The mission of the American Foundation for Children with AIDS is to improve the lives of children and youth struggling with the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We provide cost effective relief, services, medical and social support, education and advocacy to help these victims achieve their full life potential.
Dec 5, 2013

What Happens to Livestock During a Drought?

Goats recipient with new kid - his herd grows!
Goats recipient with new kid - his herd grows!

The AFCA livestock project continues to get stronger despite a number of challenges that have been encountered. 

We are so excited to see that more than 75% of the chickens in the Biriri area have started laying eggs and it’s only a matter of time before we see the phenomenal growth. The rabbits in Biriri are a large breed which tends to take longer to start reproducing, but those rabbits are doing their best! What is exciting, though, is the fact that over 50% of the families who received rabbits have started recording pregnancy cases.

Considering the harsh conditions the animals have been exposed to this drought year, we are very happy about the performances. We must point out the record growth in the pig pilot section!  This is the first time ever for us to be involved in a pig project and so far, the performance is AMAZING! One family had 10 pigglets born this season!

It is also worth noting that more than 95% of our beneficiaries are utilizing their small stock and are benefiting on a varying scale. Some are collecting manure and urine for their gardens and others are enjoying eggs, milk and rabbit meat. Eight families have already sold a rabbit in order to pay school fees and three families have eaten a rabbit as relish.  This means they already gave two rabbits away to another family and have enough left over to be a small business.  Good stuff!

CHALLENGES FACED AND THE WAY FORWARD

The major challenge this year is limited feed resources due to drought. The families are fully aware of the importance of dry season feed and are doing a lot to alleviate feed shortages and ensure the survival of their small stock. In all our sites, beneficiaries are supplementing their small stock by using legume residues which include ground nut hay and cow pea hay. Sorghum and maize residues are also used. The bulk of the beneficiaries are also using wild legumes and are also collecting acacia pods for their small stock. Those with chickens and guinea fowls are supplementing using sun flower seed and small grain. The orphan families are very excited that we are introducing fodder crops and they see it as a very effective way to mitigate the effects of dry season shortages that threaten the gains of various projects.

Diseases and parasites continue to be an issue in some areas, but it is worth noting that the regime that has been put together has made a great impact in countering these threats. Through training, beneficiaries are having sound understanding of basic small stock diseases, prevention and treatment. Orphan families have reported a lot of diseases during this dry season which could be due to poor nutrition and subsequent poor body condition. The most common diseases have been pulpy kidney, internal parasites, tick borne diseases and eye problems. But, we are happy to report that the orphan families did not lose many animals because of the vaccination and deworming programmes. Also, in cases of sickness, the families have improved a lot and are reporting such cases on time. The beneficiaries, through AFCA sponsored training workshops, are exposed to farm level disease management and are accessing relevant support services through the use of veterinary kits and trained veterinary assistants.

We are incredibly grateful and happy about this program and we are expecting to add a new site this year so we can help even more children.  Thank you from all of us in Zimbabwe!

Dec 5, 2013

Do You Remember That Song?

In 1984, a group of renown musicians got together to sing.  It wasn't just any song they sang and they didn't sing it for a particular audience.  No, they sang to raise awareness and funds for the people of Ethiopia because millions there were in danger of starvation.  Click here if you want to listen.  Now, don't laugh when you see the hairstyles, makeup and outfits worn in the 1980's!  

Now, in 2013, there is a hunger that is stalking another country: Zimbabwe.  Thankfully, the situation isn't as severe as it was in Ethiopia in 1984, but it IS severe and children no longer can walk to school because they are too weak to do so.  Children and elderly people are dying because they just don't have enough food to carry them through another day. My heart breaks for them and I pray for rain and for hope for them.

During this holiday season we can all get together and do something to help others.  While we celebrate with food, family and friends, we can also celebrate the giving of life to others who just don't have what they need to survive for much longer.  Will you join us in giving hope?

For $1500, we can deliver enough food to feed 256 children and guardians for an entire month.  Surely, together, we can do this...we can share of our riches so that children in our programs can make it though this terrible time.  When they come out on the other side of it, we'll be there with seeds and livestock, ready to teach them how to grow veggies with little/no water so that next time the rains don't come, they are able to eat and survive without external help.

If you have questions or want to do more with our organization, write me at tweaver@AFCAids.org.  I am here to help.

Happy Holidays, all,

 

tanya

Links:

Nov 26, 2013

Food for the Hungry

Maria and Makhosini
Maria and Makhosini

I am so very pleased to tell you that we have already been able to provide porridge for 264 children for a month because of your generosity.  Yes. 264 children!!  You see, the situation is so desperate in Zimbabwe right now that we fronted the cost of the porridge and we purchased and delivered 50lb bags to families who were desperate for food.  We were hopeful that donors would help us cover the costs and it was with a huge sense of gratitude that I saw that this project was fully funded today!

Because we delivered the porridge this week, I have brand new photos and testimonials to share with you, received just today:

Ntombizodwa is a sickly guardian from Mayezane village. She is raising Mpilwenhle who is eight years old. Mpilwenhle’s father and mother died in 2008. Ntombizodwa says that since the time Mpilwenhle’s parents died, it has been very difficult for both of them since she is unemployed and sick. ”We have been struggling to make ends meet. Food is very expensive and when our crops failed last season due to lack of rain, it was a very painful blow. This porridge we are receiving here today has brought hope at last. I was looking at my boy here suffering without food, but as you can see today, he is very happy” she said.

AND,

Maria is an old lady looking after Makhosini. Makhosini’s mother  and father died in 2006. The grandmother said they were on the verge of dying because of hunger.”Please thank those angels who sent us this much needed food, especially now when things are very difficult like this."  Makhosini said he is looking forward to enjoying the porridge and that the hunger he has gone through for a long time is finally coming to an end. 

So, friends, you helped us provide food for those who so desperately need it.  We can't thank you enough!  You've saved some precious lives and there aren't words to thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and we hope you are as blessed as richly as you've blessed others.

If you'd ever like to learn more about our work, please feel free to contact me at tweaver@AFCAids.org.  I am always glad to tell others about what we do and how they can become involved.

Ntombizodwa and Mpilwenhle
Ntombizodwa and Mpilwenhle

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