Support HIV/AIDS Treatment for Kids in China

 
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ZhenZhen at Happy Weekend Dancing Activity
ZhenZhen at Happy Weekend Dancing Activity

2015 is the Year of the Yang (Sheep). There is a saying in China: “three yang makes for great happiness.”

We are excited to share some updates with you about a very special PATS child named Zhen Zhen who has been blessed with happiness despite a very challenging beginning.  

Zhen Zhen- who is now approximately 9 years old- came to PATS several years ago as a toddler. A police officer found her abandoned in a park and when they learned that she was HIV-positive she was taken in by our partner organization AIDS Orphan Salvation Association (AOS).  AOS settled her in a small, loving home along with 4 other HIV-positive children who did not have any relatives or friends who would care for them. On her first day she cried and cried and was so scared and disoriented that it was painful to imagine the number of losses she had been through already at such a young age. Fast forward just a few months and she was thriving in her new “family” and was so warmly accepted by her new brothers and sisters. One afternoon not long after she arrived she was helping the older children celebrate a birthday. She was at the center of the gang, face covered in frosting and smiling so joyfully as the older children doted over her.

PATS has ensured that Zhen Zhen receives nutritious food, hygiene supplies and that her medical needs are closely followed to be sure she does not need to start on ARVs to treat her HIV. Our health workers visit her weekly, check her overall health status and speak with her caretakers about any health developments. They also take her to her doctor’s regularly and for regular blood tests to be sure she does not need to initiate ARV treatment.

Zhen Zhen was initially homeschooled as a result of stigma that prevented her from entering mainstream school; however, she is now at the local school and is thriving. She studies extremely hard and is very diligent in all of her subjects.

This past winter AOS' Director Zhang took Zhen Zhen on a trip of a lifetime- she flew to Hainan Island and joined a winter Camp there. She so enjoyed the good weather and scenery and it really opened her eyes to the world outside of Fuyang, Anhui where she lives.

Zhen Zhen loves to learn new dance moves- as you can see in the picture here- and enjoys putting on performances with the other children in her home. 

Thank you for helping us to support children like Zhen Zhen whose lives are enriched and made possible by your generous support.  

*The US operation of PATS is completely run by volunteers. Over 98% of the funding goes directly to China and the program.

ZhenZhen and her loving family
ZhenZhen and her loving family
New Year Celebration 2015
New Year Celebration 2015
Dear generous donors,
We hope you are having a wonderful day and are so glad to provide another update about PATS and the PATS children.
PATS local partner AOS hosted a New Year's party for all of the PATS and AOS children. These children are both those affected by HIV/AIDS- meaning a parent has HIV or has passed away from AIDS- or the child is HIV-positive themselves. Stigma is still so great in the area that children and families affected by HIV/AIDS are often left out of community activities and many are shunned even from schools. These celebrations provide an important time for children affected by AIDS to come together in a safe place to celebrate with others who understand their circumstances.
Activities included singing and dancing performances by the children, food and crafts for all. Families are invited as well and the children look forward to preparing for the party for months in advance.
Thank you for supporting PATS and enabling all the children in the program to enjoy a childhood despite the double burden of having HIV and being raise in poverty. In December alone we raised $8,000 on Global Giving! Thank you to each of our donors for your generosity! We hope that you will continue to support PATS as we seek to provide quality care to children living with HIV in rural China.
Happy New Year!
If you have any additional questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@patskids.org. We'd love to hear from you!
The PATS team!
PATS Kids Charlotte
PATS Kids Charlotte's Web

Hello PATS Supporters,

As we welcome fall, we wanted to share a few nice updates with you. One of the PATS children and the work of our sister organization (Fuyang AIDS Orphan Salvation Association- AOS) is highlighted in a recent newspaper article.  

"American woman who adopted HIV-positive child tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'." The child adopted is not a PATS child but the photo of the girl featured is one of our kids. You can access this article here:http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/american-woman-who-adopted-hivpositive-child-tells-parents-there-is-nothing-to-be-afraid-of-9748632.html. We are very proud to be working to reduce the stigma that comes along with HIV/AIDS in a community where AIDS is still reason to shun classmates, neighbors and relatives.

Also, we have a fun update from the field.  One of our PATS volunteers visited AOS this summer, and arranged a performance of Charlotte's Web with the PATS children.  They did a really good job with this story of friendship.  Their performance touched the hearts of every audience member.  Attached is a picture from the play.  

We wish you a wonderful fall and holiday season.  And as always, we appreciate your support of our mission to give the PATS kids happy and healthy childhoods.

Dian Dian at Home
Dian Dian at Home

Dear PATS Supporters,

We hope you are enjoying the beginning of your summer.  With the summer we wanted to share a very heartwarming update written by our community health workers, Ming Yue and Li Chao about one of our kids, Dian Dian.  We've edited some of the translation to make it clearer, but we wanted to preserve the essence of the way they wanted to tell Dian Dian's story.  

We also wanted to share an exciting matching drive tomorrow, July 16th, starting at 9am EDT.  

  • Starting at  9 am EDT on Wednesday, July 16th, GlobalGiving.org will be matching donations! For PATS, our matching level is 50%!  GlobalGiving will be matching donations up to $1,000 per donor per project.  That means if you donate $100 to PATS tomorrow, GlobalGiving will give us an additional $50 (while matching funds last)
  • There are $130,000 available in matching funds to all organizations and matching will be available while funds last or until 11:59 pm EDT on July 16th. Matching funds may run out quickly--so get donations in early
  • GlobalGiving is offering a $1,000 bonus award for the project that raises the most funds and a$500 bonus award for the project that comes in second. They are also offering another $1,000 bonus award for most individual donors and a $500 award for the project that comes in second.

Meet Dian Dian

We met Dian Dian in 2010.  Her mother comes from Yunnan Province, then got remarried in Li Xin Village Fuyang City. Dian Dian’s stepfather is kindly and simple-hearted. They lived with Dian Dian’s grandfather and her uncle. They built a new house which was much better than before. The road was paved under the whole village’s efforts.

Dian Dian studies in a primary school which is near her village. Her neighbors know her family’s situation but there has been no discrimination. Dian Dian plays with her friends and they study together without AIDS’s influences. Dian Dian does not like to study. We even went to her school, the education there is not good and teacher’s level is not high. Children at this age like to play and because their parents focus on the farm, it is easy to ignore kid’s studies. Sometime we bring the books and toys to them. They like them very much.

In these years, our program changed their drug awareness. In the beginning of this program, they often ate the wrong medication. At that time, we taught her mother the importance of taking their medication. Now Dian Dian’s adherence is much better than before. Although her mother now supervises Dian Dian in taking medication, sometimes they sleep very early and forget to eat meds. Since we came to her home for visiting, the influence is positive.

There are 3 kids in this family. Dian Dian was brought here from Yunnan Province, so she gets less love from stepfather than her brother. Every month we went to her home and brought her food and gifts, these food and gifts will be taken by her little brother. Dian Dian knows her situation and has no choice. When we talk to her mother, Dian Dian will rely on her mother’s shoulder.  Maybe her mother is the only one who she can trust. Dian Dian can bear her brother’s bullying, because her mother teach her to be kind and tolerant.

One day, we visited her home. We walked around in her village for almost an hour. Dian Dian talked to me a lot without any guard. She told me about her classmates and the games they often played. Sometime her brother will bully her. In our conversation, we heard her grievances and her tolerance. We believe she is a kind girl and she will have a lot of friends in her life in the future.

I still remember our last home visit. Dian Dian wore a very thick jacket. This jacket was a new one. I said today is a little hot why do you wear a thick jacket. She was very shy and did not say anything. Her mother told us that because of our visit, she wants to show her beautiful side to us. Actually, Dian Dian’s the most beautiful girl in our heart. Because during every home visit we feel her pure heart. 

Dian Dian and her Mom
Dian Dian and her Mom
When PATS first started close to 8 years ago, having Zhang Ying (the head of AOS, counterpart of PATS, based in China) visit the US once a year seemed impossible. The only way for the two teams to meet face-to-face was for US-based PATS volunteers to make regular visits to China. As traveling from China to the US becomes easier and easier and the AOS-PATS relationship continues to mature, the PATS workers in China have the opportunity to visit the US and are taking over more responsibilities for the PATS program. Zhang Ying, the PATS lead health worker and a few AOS volunteers came to the US to meet with the PATS team in the US in February. The objective of the visit was to transfer operational knowledge on fundraising and antiretroviral drug adherence monitoring and evaluation from the US team to the PATS-China team. The visit fostered numerous discussions and initiatives.
We discussed one of the most successful fundraising programs, Sponsor a Child, extensively. The concept of pairing donors to specific children allowing for long term continuous communication was foreign to the PATS-China team. The volunteers in the US talked about different approaches to make sure the sponsors/donors stay engaged and feel the personal connection so important for the success of the Sponsor a Child program. We also talked about the possibility of expanding the program to Chinese donors. We look forward to supporting the workers in China in expanding the Sponsor a Child program to Chinese donors.  **To Sponsor a Child via our GlobalGiving page, simply select the option to cover a child's expenses for one year, which is $880.  We will then contact you directly to initiate the sonsorship and periodic child updates.
When Zhang Ying and the lead health worker were in the US, we also had the opportunity to go through each child's health status. We identified some children whose CD4 count ("good" white blood cell count important to fighting off infections) was decreasing over time and discussed the approaches to take to make sure the children are not developing drug resistance. By talking about each child's status one by one, we were able to brainstorm on ideas of further improvements of the program.
Following up from the face-to-face meeting in Boston, we continue to stay in touch to put in action of what we discussed through emails and phone calls. The workers in China are in the process of drafting Sponsor a Child letters and they have talked to the local doctors about potential issues with some of the kids' medications. The PATS-China team is beginning to drive more and more initiatives and the US team play a supportive role. We look forward to continuing to refine the ways of collaboration between the two teams and sharing our successes along the way with you.

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Organization

Project Leader

Jialing Wang

Marketing & Social Media Coordinator
Cambridge, MA United States

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