Power of Love Foundation

Our Mission is: To turn back the tide of the global AIDS epidemic through innovative community responses that increase the effectiveness of prevention and care efforts. Our Vision is: A world where the AIDS epidemic is in continuous retreat, and people living with HIV/AIDS have access to loving care and treatment in an environment free of stigma and discrimination.
May 10, 2015

This Mother's Day Help a Mom/Grand Mom Provide for her Family

Happy Mother's Day! 

Thanks as always for empowering women impacted by HIV and AIDS in Zambia. With your help we can continue to provide micro loans, business training and business mentoring to new women entrepreneurs, so they can take better care of their families and keep their children in school.

Our Loans Program is Expanding

Since our last conversation in March 2015, we were able to provide 50 new loans and business training to new women entrepreneurs in our community. Over the course of five days, 50 women went through an intensive business training course, at the end which they presented a business plan to qualify for a loan to start a business. At this time, the women are busy running their new businesses and providing for their families.

With the addition of these 50 loans we now have 275 women running successful to moderately successful businesses in our community in Lusaka, Zambia.  

Testimonial

Before providing new loans last month we wanted to assess the impact of our loans program on women who were provided with loans 3-4 years back and to learn from their experiences. Accordingly, we had a long conversation with Amy (name changed) who was among the first set of women to join the program. Women like Amy inspire us every day and continue to inspire new loan beneficiaries. In addition to running and growing their businesses they have become role models and mentor the new women who join the program.

About Amy: Amy graduated from our loans program three years back and is continuing to run the business she started with the help of a micro loan. All her children are in school and she is able to take good care of her family. After completing her loan repayments she continues to come back to mentor new women beneficiaries.

Amy’s story in her own words: I am a 45 year old widow. There are seven people in my household – five children (two are my own), my sister and myself. My sister and the other two children are dependent on me.

I joined Power of Love’s micro loans program and received business training and a small loan to start a business. Before I joined the program, life was difficult as I did not have a means for taking care of my family and paying for school expenses for the children. After I finished a week long business training I started a business selling dressed chicken and cupcakes in my community of Matero. I worked hard, made my loan repayments and saved a small amount each week. My business did well. I was able to take better care of my family (we started eating 2-3 meals per day as compared to just one meal or less per day), and pay for school expenses for all five children. During my training and weekly meeting with the loan officer and other womaen, I learnt the importance of keeping children in school. I know that education is important for getting ahead in life. All my children are attending school and my oldest graduated from High School and has enrolled in the University.

Over time, I expanded my business by purchasing a sewing machine with the next loan. I love working for myself, feel empowered and am confident for a bright future for myself and my family. 

After I received a third loan and paid it off (about 19 months after I received my first loan), I graduated from Power of Love’s loans program. Since then, I have been encouraging other women in the community, to start a business, and take their first steps toward self-reliance. In addition, I regularly mentor women who have receive loans and business training from Power of Love, to work hard at their business and make it grow. The Power of Love loan officer tells me that I am one of the best mentors and I am happy for this.

My dream was to have a shop of my own. I continued to save and expand my business. Over the last few years, I saved up enough to build a shop and sell groceries from my shop. At this time, my shop has soap, cooking oil, eggs, candy, bread, cereal, beauty supplies, cookies etc. My dream has come true. I have paid for my oldest child to enroll in the University and have been able to electrify my shop. I will continue to encourage other women to start a business, work hard, and keep their children in school.

Thanks for giving me a chance to be economically independent. 

Links:

May 10, 2015

This Mother's Day Help a Mom/Grand Mom Care for her Children

Happy Mother’s Day!

The Power of Love team would like to thank you for supporting our pediatric HIV care program in Zambia. As a result of your generosity we were able to add 50 HIV+ children last month. With the addition of these children, we will have a total of 250 HIV+ children who are receiving a comprehensive package of life saving health care services and will do so till they turn 18 years of age. This package includes food, medicines, weekly health visits from community health workers, regular visits from the Project Nurse, psycho-social counseling, education in HIV prevention, and adherence monitoring and training for older children. In addition, caregivers (most are single moms and many are grandmothers caring for multiple orphans) of children completed a five day training in caring for an HIV positive child.

We would like to share stories of two children enrolled in our program last March. These two children are typical and their experiences can provide a baseline for assessment of the impact of our program on the health and well-being of most children.

Theresa (name changed) is 13 years old, both her parents are HIV+ and she is on ARV medication. She is living with her mom, stepfather, and two siblings. Her stepfather does not have a full time job so it is difficult for him to support the whole family. Her mom is expecting a new baby and has been enrolled in Power of Love's PMTCT program to ensure that the baby is born HIV free. Theresa joined our program due to her difficult family situation and poor health. At this time, she is receiving food, medicines and weekly health checkups from our community health worker, psycho-social counseling, and education on prevention of STI’s. Her mom received training in caring for an HIV+ child so she can prevent/identify/treat infections or escalate care to the next higher level of medical care. We are confident that Theresa will benefit from the care provided, will start to improve in health, and attend school.

Cole (name changed) is a five year old boy, and the youngest of three siblings. He lives with his parents who are both on treatment for HIV. He tested positive for HIV six weeks after birth. In 2014, he was very sick due to severe malnutrition and was in hospital for a month. He has been receiving a high protein soya supplement in addition to food, medicines and weekly visits from our community health worker/Nurse. His mom was trained in caring for an HIV+ child so that she can prevent/treat common infections before they compromise his health. We are happy that Cole is showing signs of better health already and has started gaining weight slowly. We are confident that his health will continue improve in the coming months and that he can start school next year. He is an active boy and plays well with his peers.

Thanks for giving children like Theresa and Cole a chance to live close to a normal and healthy, active life. 

Links:

May 10, 2015

This Mother's Day Give the Gift of Fun and Learning to a child in Zambia

Happy Mothers’ Day! This Mother’s Day give a gift of fun and learning to a vulnerable child in Zambia.

What Is “Safe Parks”? Every Saturday morning 70-80 children join our trained child and youth care workers in educational games and engaging in drama, role play, and discussions. These children are growing up in a difficult environment and have very few opportunities for fun and learning. Most need counseling for mental health issues due to the loss of a parent/family member, their HIV positive status, and lack of enough food. Children are encouraged to mix and interact with their peers while the Project Nurse observes them for any signs of distress, trauma or grief. Family members are provided with counseling and referrals regarding agencies that can help the child develop normally.

The program is free and open to all children in the community of Matero, in Lusaka Zambia.

Activities: The younger children have fun, and are able to play, learn and express themselves in a safe environment. They engage in drawing, coloring, playing with building blocks, singing, and dancing. Older children (ages 13-18 years) engage in discussions on topics such as overall health, hygiene, prevention of HIV and malaria. Drug and alcohol abuse, STI's, and safe sex are some of the sensitive topics that are discussed with adolescent children. Homework help is provided and children are invited to share report cards from their school. In addition, HIV+ pregnant women are counselled on how to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) so that they can deliver a baby who is free of HIV. Family members are encouraged to go in for testing for HIV which is the first step toward prevention of HIV Lastly, a snack is provided to all children.

Impact: Younger children have fun while learning to share toys and interact with peers. Discussion on sensitive topics with older children, leads to increased knowledge about HIV, reduces stigma, reduces early pregnancies, and encourages adherence to medication. Homework assistance helps the children do better at school, provides an incentive to attend school every day and improves life skills. Information provided to women regarding PMTCT and voluntary testing for HIV prevents HIV infection and its spread.    

Overall, these games and activities improve the children’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual development and overall health. Better health leads to fewer missed days at school, and higher school performance. At the very minimum this program keeps children off the streets over the weekend where they can get into trouble or get abused.   

Mentoring: We invite children who have graduated from our pediatric HIV care program to mentor younger children. The mentors act as role models as they play games, help with homework, share their experiences, and encourage the children to take care of their health and stay in school. 

Thanks for providing a fun and learning environment to vulnerable children in Zambia.

Links:

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