World AIDS Day is held on December 1st each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We wanted to take this oppertunity to tell you about just one of the projects we run to help tackle the issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa.Thanks to the incredible support you give Retrak, in 2010 over 550 street children learnt about HIV/AIDS. Retrak is working hard to educate street children about HIV/AIDS and increase their knowledge and helping to reduce their chance of infection.
Retrak & Kick4Life Soccer HIV-prevention Project
Retrak works with “full time” street children that are disconnected from the protection of their family, they live and work on the streets and are at constant risk of exploitation, abuse and poor health. Many street children are HIV-affected having lost a relative through a HIV-related illness, at risk of sexual abuse, or being infected themselves.
The Global HIV Prevention Working Group insists that evidence-based behaviour change can avert up to 50% of the 15 million new infections projected to occur in the next decade. Education and behaviour change programs are not only amongst the world’s most cost-effective health interventions but also have the greatest potential to reverse the HIV pandemic. Thanks to your support Retrak have been able to introduce this pilot programme to both Uganda and Ethiopia.
The programme uses soccer as a vehicle to increase knowledge of HIV, reduce the stigma around HIV/AIDS and prevent new HIV infections in street children.
The soccer based HIV-prevention project supports street children and adolescents living with HIV (and the consequences of HIV), and their families within their communities by:
Retrak has partnered with Kick4Life www.kick4life.org, a non-profit organisation based in Lesotho that uses the power of football to stop the spread of HIV. Retrak and Kick4Life have piloted a football based HIV prevention project for street children in Kampala, Uganda. Retrak and Kick4Life have design a HIV curriculum specifically targeting vulnerable street children. Retrak have been working over the last few months with Kick4Life to deliver the interactive HIV prevention programme to street boys aged 7-17.
The curriculum focuses on building basic life skills that help boys and girls adopt healthy behaviours and live risk-free. Through a series of interactive activities, soccer and discussions students gain a tangible understanding of HIV and AIDS and get a chance to practice the skills necessary for sustainable behaviour change. Key curricular topics include making healthy decisions, avoiding risks, building support networks, reducing stigma and discrimination, increasing knowledge about HIV testing and treatment, addressing gender issues, and assessing values.
Thanks to the support that you give Retrak and street children in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya Retrak is able to offer basic but imaginative catch up education for the children, focussing on key subjects such as literacy, numeracy, health and HIV/AIDS. The access to education is vital in building up the self esteem of each child which in turn helps to improve their chances of a successful return back into the community.
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US Country Director