Furaha is 16 years old. She is the last born in her family and interestingly enough, only she and her mother are HIV positive. They've both attended our facility in Mombasa since 2006 and there, they receive counseling and the medicine they need to take daily.
Looking at Furaha, you'd think she is younger than she is because she is a small girl, mostly because of her HIV+ status and how it has affected her since birth. Malnourishment as a baby also played a part in her small stature, but it sure didn't affect her mind! Wow! Furaha is something else! Because she was so sickly as a child, she didn't start school until she was eight years old. But, once on the medicine provided by AFCA, she took to school very quickly and is now in class 8. She loves school and is looking forward to high school now.
Furaha is not only active in school and at home, but she is also active in the youth support group which she attends with her peers at the clinic. There, she is open to discuss her issues with being HIV+ because she knows no one will make fun of her and because she can get answers to her growing list of questions about life with HIV. With her shy smile, natural curiosity and work ethic, I see Furaha going far.
Naturally, without the school fees and uniforms you help pay for, she couldn't do it. Her mother is sick and her father passed away long ago. So, really, YOU are the one that is allowing this bright girl to have a future. Thank you for that. If you were to visit Furaha today, she'd smile and thank you in her quiet voice. But inside, she'd be jumping.
That's just the way she is.
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When I first met Rama, he was withdrawn and hungry and grabbed the banana and boiled I offered him out of my hand.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.
Katana is a total orphan living with the grandmother. A total orphan menas that his parents have died. Katana's younger sister is also HIV positive and both of them have been receiving counseling, medical attention and care from our facility in Mombasa. He is currently 16 years old. Since we started supporting him, he has greatly improved in his school performance because, as he says, he feel that someone cares for him and is interested in his future.
When Katana first joined our program, he was unable to dream of a future and coundn't conceive of graduating from highschool and much less, of becoming a bread winner. Now, thanks to school fees paid for him, along with his books and uniform, Katana feels that he has a chance at a future and has said that he'd like to be a lawyer to support himself and his younger sister. Right now, he is in secondary school and is working hard. He had the best performance during the school year this year, scoring a great grade for his hard work!
It's kids like Katana who make us excited to continue helping them. They have terrible struggles to overcome and most of them are quite alone in their suffering. Yet, with a bit of hope, given by YOU, they are able to move forward in order to make something better of their future.
Thank you for caring for Katana and all the other children in our school fees program. Thank YOU for giving generously and for building young futures. If you'd like to learn more about our programs and would like to receive our news, please sign up for our newsletter at www.AFCAids.org. We are always happy to hear from you, too, so feel free to write us at info@AFCAids.org.
2014 is going to be a wonderful year for Katana...thank you!
Hillary is an HIV+ boy who is part of our program in Mombasa, Kenya. He is 9 years old and is full of life. He loves to play soccer, to run around yelling with his friends and to eat ugali (corn mush) with greens. His cheeky grin is contagious and everyone who meets him loves him!
Hillary isn't only a cute kid. He is also a kid who wants to be something important when he gets older. First, he'd like to be a doctor. Then, he'd like to be a priest. Sometimes, though, he'd really like to be a teacher. There are times, he tells me, that he's like to be a gardener so he can see things grow. I shake my head when he comes up with a different dream each time he's asked, but really, he is just a little boy who knows that going to school is very important and the best thing is, he loves to learn.
He is doing well in class 4 at St. Jude Academy, where his fees are paid for by you all, the generous donors who help us keep deserving and needy children in school. He gets up early, washes up and heads to school five days a week, eager to see what else he can be when he grows up. Whatever he finally decided to do, I can't wait to hear about it.
But, for now, Hillary is a normal little kids who attends a junior support group at the clinic in Mombasa and because of the counseling and support he receives there, he is able to take his medicines without any problem.
Thanks, friends, for supporting children like Hillary. You are making a world of different. We know it, they know and you know it. Please don't stop...there are so many other children who'd like to have the opportunity to go to school, too.
Edna Akoth and Jemima Atieno are siblings and, together with their mother, they are cared for at our partner clinic at Mikindani, Mombasa. When we first met them, these girls and their mom were in pitiful shape - hungry and sick and desperate for help. Upon testing, it was discovered that the three of them are HIV+, so all were admitted into AFCA's program.
Now, a couple years down the road, they are all healthy and doing well. The girls love going to school, where Edna is in form 4 at Changmwe Secongary School and Edna is in class 2 at Sir Henry Academy. They are so proud of their uniforms and accomplishments, as our we! All of them are breathing a sigh of relief because they don't have the pressure of paying for the girls' school fees anymore and because they know that getting a good education is going to help all of them.
These girls are a great example of the difference a little hope can make in the lives of a child. Thank you for being part of this work!
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