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.
Jun 25, 2014

Why we need a truck

There are some things that are almost too wonderful for words.  Let me try to explain one of them.

Today, we visit a project we started a couple of years ago with one greenhouse on a small farm called Portriez.  The greenhouse produced tomatoes by the bucketfuls and we got super excited.  With what we learned, we decided to expand the project to a larger piece of land – 50 acres, in a place called Lunga Lunga (LL), outside of Mombasa.  AFCA put in a borehole and an organic greenhouse and we hit the ground running. 

While I’d visited when the borehole was installed, I hadn’t been back to LL for a few months.  Today, I am back, with Fred and Karina in tow.  We arrive at LL and I stand amazed.  I feel my mouth hang open and my jaw is somewhere hitting my chest.  This place is incredible!  Because Portriez developed some sort of fungus that was killing tomatoes, we moved the warehouse to LL.  Now, standing before me, are two huge greenhouses and they are surrounded by rows and rows of green peppers, onions, kale, spinach, hot peppers, cassava, and all sorts of veggies.  On the front of the farm, there is a huge plot of corn, with more reaching out to the left of where I stand, as far as I can see.  Dotting the land are banana trees, papaya trees, and passion fruit and cucumber vines.

I am so thrilled.  So beyond thrilled!  This project has every making of a successful entrepreneurship which will provide funds for our supported medical and school programs here in Mombasa.  My goal is that once this farm is making a profit, they will not only pay the salaries of the men who work this land tirelessly, but that it will cover costs currently covered by AFCA: school fees, uniforms and shoes for the children, medical supplies, Kids Days, and nutritional support. 

The farm manager, Daniel, is as excited as a little kid, answering every single question I have (I have many of them), both professionally and knowingly.  He is excited to be part of something that isn’t only growing nutritious veggies and fruit which will benefit the local economy and people, but he is motivated to be part of something much larger.  This is not just a farm.  This is a farm with a purpose: to allow CBHC to not need AFCA anymore.  This, in turn, means that AFCA can start our work elsewhere, where no one else is working and where needs are desperate. 

We have a long way to go and I don’t kid myself about that.  But, today’s visit is just a breath of fresh air – it is working.  This idea of a farm which will provide food for malnourished children in the CBHC program, which will provide food at subsidized cost to mothers who are starting their own small vegetable businesses, and which will allow CBHC to become self-sustaining – it is working! 

The big concern raised a few times today is the need for a truck, which will help lug all the veggies and fruit to market.   Right now, they are using a motorcycle, which is not going to be adequate in August when both the tomato and the corn harvest happen.  One thing is to move leafy greens on the back of a motorcycle…another one is to move 300 pounds of tomatoes per week!  I am trying to think creatively to see what we can do while we try to raise the funds needed for such a huge purchase.  If anyone out there has great ideas, let me know.  Thanks for your support!

May 28, 2014

School Days

Rama, little Juma and Tanya
Rama, little Juma and Tanya

Rama is a quiet, friendly boy with four siblings who has been in AFCA's project for the past three years.  When we met him, he was living with his family in a very dilapidated house with rain pouring in during the wet season and mosquitos breeding as soon as the sun would come out.  Rama, his siblings and mother would take turns sleeping in their only bed and would all share a daily meal, leaving the kids hungry and Rama and the older kids unable to focus in school and daily life.

When I first met Rama, he was withdrawn and hungry and grabbed the banana and boiled I offered him out of my hand.  I thought he was going to eat it all in one gulp, but instead, he broke the bananas into pieces and shared them and the eggs with the others.  When I asked Rama if he'd like to return to school, he smiled a shy smile and said he would.  His mom said it was impossible due to the costs involved, but we assured her that it was ok and that there was a school that wanted him to attend.  You see, the counselor in the clinic where Rama attends knew that he is special.  She knew that with a little help, the kids in this family could do well because they are bright and eager to learn.  They just needed a little help.

So, that summer, a team of volunteers worked with the community and Rama's family to fix their home, providing them with a two-roomed home with a good roof, beds, mosquito nets, and sturdy walls.  The kids now all have a safe place to study and they are enrolled in school.  Rama is in first grade at Star Academy and his teacher reports that he is a clever boy and doesn't want to miss any classes.  He also attends kids' support group and likes interacting with others.

Thank YOU so much for changing this boy's life, friends.  Thank YOU for helping his siblings, too, to have hope and the ability to go to school.  Thank YOU for giving his mom something to smile about every day when she sees her kids excelling at something they love.

YOU are changemakers.

May 13, 2014

Thembeni and her kids

Mrs. Dube, Roselyn and Sandra
Mrs. Dube, Roselyn and Sandra

Thembeni is a forty five year old sickly widow who is looking after the following children:

Calson, a boy aged seventeen, Roselyn, a girl aged fifteen and Sandra, a girl aged thirteen years old. They come from the Mahwanke village in Gwanda district. Thembeni says that she is thankful to the people who donated porridge because she and her family have been struggling to get nutritionally rich food for their meals. She said the porridge was going to be of great help for the children who are going to school as they will go after having a very strong breakfast, helping them think and concentrate at school. 

The family was also part of the families who received rabbits in 2012 and she is very happy with the performance of the rabbit project at her home.  She said, “The rabbit project at our home, where we were given two female rabbits has been a vehicle for a breakthrough in our lives. The number of the rabbits up to this year has gone up to eighteen.  We have given back two rabbits (part of the project to help another family) and have sold seven and I managed to buy uniforms for the children and to pay school fees. We have slaughtered three as relish and the meat is tasty and tender.”

Roselyn added that “the meat tastes better than chicken meat and it is very soft”

The family knows that between the porridge and the rabbits, they've received a huge gift.  Now that their rabbits are growing well, they should not need porridge during the dry season in 2014.  THANK YOU for giving them this stop-gap porridge - what a life saver you are.

Thank YOU for making a different in the life of children!

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