Dear our esteemed readers and donors,
First I would like to express my utmost THANKS for your generous support that has really made us to be a successful organization that has been walking the talk of our core mission and vision. Attached please find out our quarterly newsletter that has all the activities that has been happening within the community that we serve. All these couldn't be possible without your unwavering support.While you read this newsletter, I want to wish you all the BEST in your endeavors.
Yours Project Director
On 16h July 2010, Vijana Amani Pamoja-VAP hosted the 3nd annual Kick N Test VCT and TB screening soccer tournament at Kiambio slums. It was an exciting day of football, voluntary counseling, testing and TB screening. The tournament was organized under the theme of “Leading Front”. A total of 16 teams both boys and girls of ages 13-18 years from all the walks of Eastlands part of Nairobi converged at Kiambio community grounds, the heart of Kiambio, were waiting in readiness to participate in this unique 7-a-side street football tournament. The top two teams from each group played in the final to be crowned Kick N Test champions.
Kiambio slum is the 3rd biggest slum in Nairobi with an average population of 50,000 people and it is the host of VAP’s ground offices. The majority of the dwellers are depending on periodical manual jobs with a few being employed in informal sectors. Kiambio slum is also on record with the highest numbers of a myriad of social and economical challenges eg.HIV/AIDS, TB, lack of employment early pregnancies, rape etc. The location of VAP ground offices at the centre of Kiambio, has really developed a great relationship with the community as far as preventing and solving out some of the social challenges
AN EXTRA BOOST OFF THE FIELD
What made this tournament special? The team did not get points only for winning or drawing a match, but also participating in the Skillz Kenya HIV/AIDS activities, stop TB activity visiting VCT and TB screening tents over the course of the day. In the event of a tie, these extra points were more important than a point in the match. A total of 81 youth players were tested on HIV/AIDS status and screened on TB. Every youth/player that was tested walked out with a certificate plus a bonus point to his/her team.
One player from each age group was chosen as soccer champion, based on his/her performance in the tournament, and one as spirit champion, based on his/her enthusiasm in the Skillz Kenya HIV/AIDS and stop TB activities.
Community members around Kiambio got an opportunity for a VCT and TB screening services during the tournament.
During intervals and half time of both Skillz Kenya HIV/AIDs and stop TB activities, participants were sensitized on correlation between TB and HIV. The main theme was TB/HIV co-infection. Peer educators for both TB and HIV were at hand to conduct the activities and educate the participants. We at Vijana Amani Pamoja take this moment to express our gratitude to the funders and donors who have been donating towards our cause. We thank you so much and hope to continue partnering with you to change the lives of many people through the power of soccer. For more information on the tournament see attached document.
Dear Readers and supporters of Vijana Amani Pamoja, I would like to invite you to read Vijana Amani Pamoja's latest newsletter attached to this message. Thanks for your continous support and enjoy reading..
For the last couple of weeks VAP has been working on adapting a new data system dubbed Scorecard. The system captures and tracks all details of program deliverance including: ages and genders of the participants, dates of program delivery, number of coaches and participants in attendance, activity conducted and the places of the program. The Scorecard is then uploaded into an online database called Sales force where VAP loads all of their programmatic data.
The Skillz Kenya program uses a Pre and Post survey to evaluate participants’ critical thinking, communication, self esteem, and decision making. The results of the survey should hopefully show massive changes in participants’ knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS after they participate in the Skillz Kenya curriculum.
Field Office Operations
Since the acquirement of the new ground office, Operations have been streamlined efficiently with VAP coaches having easy access to program materials and enough room for their monthly monitoring and evaluation meetings. Additionally, due to the availability of enough working space, VAP volunteers can also access a place to work and easily mingle with the community around.
Global Bikes Donate Bikes to VAP
Global Bikes made a significant donation of 6 bikes to VAP. The donation of bikes will help VAP coaches move from program sites in a more efficient manner and will allow more children to benefit from the Skillz Kenya program. Global Bike has a simple mission: Use the transformative power of bikes to create positive social change in the developing world.
VAP Coaches Attend GTZ Youth Leadership Workshop
Two VAP coaches: Christine Atieno and Eligious Basil had an opportunity to attend a 5 day Youth training workshop organized by GTZ under the auspices of youth development football that commenced on 21st-25th March 2011. Amongst other organizations attending the workshop were: MYSA and MTG who were also represented by 2 young leaders respectively. The first 3 days training focused on effective ways of coaching young participants and the last 2 days focused intensively on leadership and management skills."The training I have received is so timely and I have gained a lot that would propel me, my fellow coaches my entire organization to make a real impact to the lives of the young participants that we work with.” Said Eligious Basil, VAP coach.
Opo is one of the coaches/peer educators that work with Vijana Amani Pamoja. Here he shares his inspiring story and why he wants to fight the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS.
MY COACH’S STORY
Today I have this chance of reflecting and celebrating the life of the best friend I have ever had, the person who has shaped how I have viewed life since I was a young boy. Even though I did not get the chance to enjoy his company into adulthood the experiences I have had with him gave me a better understanding of what life is and how to relate to other people. These experiences, that I treasure so much, give me the extra energy that I, as a Skillz coach, need when I intervene and advocate for positive behavior change among my friends and young people in my community.
Dave (not real name) was a funny, energetic, and playful friend. He was full of games and he loved football very much. During my school holidays, travelling upcountry was the only thing in my mind. School holidays were the best times in my life, to date. I cannot remember having so much fun since those days—and the star of the show was Dave. Dave’s parents died when he was still a little boy. As I knew it then, his parents died from “the wrath of a strong wind” wiping out the entire village, they called the wind “Ayaki Matieka,” a Luo word for “the wind that finishes.” After his parents died, he was put under the custody of his uncle. We nicknamed Dave “Rivaldo,” a Legend of Brazilian and world soccer. Dave admired Rivaldo so much that whenever he scored a goal during our ‘World Cup’ (we had a rusty metal tea cup as our world cup trophy!) he ran all over the home with his shirt covering his face just as the Brazilian Rivaldo did whenever he scored.
We used to chase each other in the banana plantation as we kicked the banana trees pretending that they were our enemies. We admired the Kung-Fu masters from those Japanese films and we loved how they fought off their enemies with their special fighting styles—our favorite being the “Drunken Master” style. We pretended we were drunk and staggered as we walked like a drunkard and we threw kicks to the helpless banana trees. It was so much fun and we used to come home later from the “battle” at the banana plantation, with our feet hurting so badly!
Dave’s aunt was not kind to him. She used to beat him up for mistakes that were petty. I can’t forget the cries of pain when he was being beaten and he was always given very heavy and odd jobs to do. Despite Dave being sick (we were told that we were not supposed to be too close to him or share our food with him) I never, at any time, saw his aunt take him to hospital or see him take medicine. Even though Dave was performing well in school his parents decided to take him out of school—this I never understood. Despite all this harsh treatment he was undergoing, Dave still found the strength to make jokes and have fun. He still could play football with us and score goals with his powerful left foot that always brought our goal post down.
During my subsequent holiday visit, Dave’s health started to deteriorate, he became weak and he was always coughing so much that he even strained to breath. During this time, we were being told not to be near him and when we were seen around him we were punished. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t want us to be near him. Dave was our Hero. He was our Leader. He was our best friend and we were not asking for too much. We only wanted to be in his company. Dave died a painful death and even though his death didn’t mean much to many people, it was everything to us, his friends. Fun was no more, only memories of it.
To date, there is not one person who can convince me that it is the AIDS virus that killed Dave. Dave died as a result of the treatment he was subjected to by the people who were responsible for taking care of him—the society. If only we would all have shown real love to him, Dave would have lived long enough to see Brazil lift another World Cup. Rivaldo, his favorite player, was in the 2002 squad. What a joy that would have been for him.
We need not stigmatize our own people living with HIV: we are part of them, they are part of us and we can never live apart. They are human. We are human. We need not be inhuman to them. We are not immune from HIV. Some are born with the virus, some cannot escape its clutches, and the rest only need to make one misguided choice and we could also be infected. Though Dave was infected with HIV, I have been affected by it up to today as I have lost one of my best friends. We are neither far from being infected with HIV nor are we far from death. We all die eventually and it doesn’t matter whether you are HIV positive or not. The best we can do is support those who are positive as they battle with the virus. They are on our team and we need to put on our “Makarapas” and prepare our ”vuvuzelas” to go to the stadium of Humanity and cheer our home team versus HIV & AIDS. Neither can the virus stand the sound of the vuvuzelas of love we are blowing, nor can it defeat our team if we all come to the stadium. And if anyone asks you why we need to do this, pause for a moment and reply… WE ALL HAVE DREAMS TO ACHIEVE, WE ALL WANT TO REACH OUR FULL POTENTIAL, WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER, WE ALL NEED TO BE APPRECIATED AS WE ARE AND WE NEED CARE FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV BECAUSE IT IS IN OUR HUMAN NATURE TO CARE FOR EACH OTHER.
The only way we can stop stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS is to encourage those among us who have been able to bounce back and became successful in life despite being HIV-positive to come out of hiding and dispel the fear that there is no life but death after being infected. Let them appear and be a source of inspiration to those who have tested positive and have lost hope in life. PLWHA also need role models among them and when the world will realize that life—not death!–can come out of us after testing positive, the stigma subjected to our own people living with HIV will be reduced. We can do it. We have the power to do so. It is within our reach.
Dedicated to my friends, donors and our people living with HIV/AIDS
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