American Foundation for Children with AIDS

The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) is a non-profit organization providing critical comprehensive services to infected and affected HIV+ children and their caregivers. Our programs are efficient, promoting self-reliance and sustainability. Since 2005, in collaboration with our in-country partners, we have served tens of thousands of families in some of the most underserved and marginalized communities in Africa. Our areas of impact include: medical support, livelihoods, educational support and emergency relief.
Jan 30, 2014

Locadia Can Laugh Again

Locadiah
Locadiah

With the recurrent food shortages threatening many lives in Zimbabwe, AFCA came up with a very crucial support initiative that has seen many families survive what could have claimed the lives of their loved ones. The distribution of fortified porridge has come at the time when most of the orphan families, especially those who are sickly, were on the verge of total breakdown due to the intensity of hunger in their homes. The sickly, children and the elderly have endured the brunt end of the prevailing hunger challenges and it is the sick and the children who have benefited mostly from porridge distributions.

The distributions were mostly targeted to those desperate orphan families that have received livestock from AFCA, thereby drastically reducing the temptation of considering abusing the livestock project as a temporary means of getting out of the desperate situation. This has seen the livestock project grow from strength to strength and in the process also contributing more towards uplifting the lives of these vulnerable orphan families. If the distributions can continue for a little while longer, they are going to help orphan families tend their planted crops until harvest time and this will prevent a situation, where due to hunger pressure, they end up eating immature crops, thereby severely compromising the yields and prolonging the hunger situation. It is very sad that the children could not attend the distribution as they were guarding crops in the fields while others were attending an extended programme of immunization.

One of the beneficiary families is that of Locadia who is a sixty-five year old guardian from Sizeze and who is looking after a three year old boy, Mbekezeli, and Nkosiyapha, a five year old boy.

Locadiah says the porridge is a gift from God that He sent through angels from distant lands. She goes on to say that she is praying that God blesses these angels who have responded swiftly to rescue her family from the jaws of hunger and starvation."I am very happy about this gift. We have gone through a lot this year and hunger was one thing that was worrying me a lot. This porridge has given me hope and I feel there are people out there who care about us," says Locadiah.

The family was given three goats in 2012 and the number has gone up to six.

           “I never thought that my children would ever own livestock

             But now am very glad that they have a small heard of goats. In this society, my

            children are also recognized as livestock owners and this gives

            me a very special feeling.”

To each of you who have helped Locadiah and her kids, THANK YOU!  

If you'd ever like to know more about our work or how you can possibly visit Locadia or others in our program, please drop Tanya a note at tweaver@AFCAids.org.

Jan 23, 2014

Reginah and her kids

Reginah and porridge
Reginah and porridge

Reginah is a sixty one year old guardian from Sizeze village. She is looking after and raising the following orphan family:

  • Mthokozisi, a 15-year old boy, 
  • Siphosenkosi, a 16-year old girl, 
  • Richard, a 9-year old boy, and 
  • Phathiso, a 10-year old girl

The family says they have been struggling to make ends meet and that hunger was the major problem that was threatening the whole family since none of the family members is gainfully employed. This family received three female goats in 2012. The goats have given birth and they now have six goats.  Reginah says they are using manure in their garden plots and milk in tea.  The only problem is that during these past months, rain didn't come in time for the gardens to mature, so the family has been hungry.  

Not wanting to eat the goats before a herd has developed (this is part of our contact with the families we help), AFCA has provided the family with fortified porridge during this season of hunger. 

Reginah says “The porridge is not just ordinary food. It is the medicine that has healed my family. My grand children have been unwell for some time, but since we started eating the porridge, all of them are very active and well.  Thank you to everyone who has given us this gift!”

Links:

Jan 22, 2014

A great story

Asina
Asina

Asina Dube a 75 year old guardian from the village of Sizeze.  She was all smiles when she received her fortified porridge because she knows exactly what it means.  You see, she takes care of three grandchildren:

  • Siphosenkosi Moyo, a 12 year old girl, 
  • Sikhangele Dube, a 17 year old boy, and 
  • Siphiweyinkosi Dube, a 1 year old boy

Asina Dube has seen hardship and sorrow since watching hopelessly as her children died from cholera, hunger and HIV. She says she was encouraged by the gift of food when she received her portion of porridge. She kept saying over and over ‘May God bless His servants who sent this porridge’.

The best part was watching her laugh and dance all over the grounds, singing her made up song "since God’s servants came from far, the hunger has gone away’.  She narrated how she was very worried about her small grandchild who needs food which builds his body.  When we explained that this porridge had all the vitamins and all the goodness the little one needs, tears of joy rolled down her face. “Don’t worry my children, these are tears of joy. I had nothing to give my grandchildren, especially the little one. We are so grateful for this gift.

The grandchildren of Asina had received 3 goats last year and now, they have five goats including 2 kids born late last year. She and the older children have been caring for the goats and they milk them to feed her youngest grandchild. She adds that even the older ones get to have milk in their tea, which helps with the hunger pains. She says’ I want to meet these people who have saved my life and my grandchildren’s lives by sending this porridge and these goats’.  

Note: AFCA requires that orphans and guardians sign a contract which states that they will not sell, barter or eat their goats for three years, giving the animals a chance to grow and reproduce, establishing a herd.  This is a very difficult thing to accomplish in times of hunger, so this family was gifted with porridge to help them meet their goal of becoming farmers who can fend for themselves, even in times of famine.  Thanks to your donations, they are going to do it because their goats are alive and everyone should make it through this difficult time of hunger.

If you'd like to learn more about what we do, you want to volunteer or you are looking for other ways to help more people like Asina and her kids, please contact me at tweaver@AFCAids.org.  We need you!

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