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!
Hadija is a sweet and active girl. She is 12 years and lives in the Miritini station, close to Mikindani, where she goes to the clinic for counseling, medicine and support. Hadija has been attending this clinic since she was 3 years old and everyone there loves her. Her family has been trained on nutrition and also more information on family testing has been passed on to them. This keeps them involved in Hadija's health issues and together, they work on her clinic plan so that she can be as healthy as possible.
While she is an orphan and is being raised by her maternal grandma, Umazi Mwanga, Hadija is a positive, happy child who is an active member of the junior support group and has benefitted from the group in terms of education on stigma, disclosure and counseling services and she interacts well with her peers/friends.
Hadija is in class 3 at St. Cecilia Academy. Early this year, she was assisted by is with remedial dues (even though education in Kenya is supposed to be free, the costs are too much for children and their sick guardians to bear) and she is still continuing with her education. While her performance is average, her teachers are really trying to assist her in her weak subjects.
Thank you for helping children like Hadija so that they, even though they are poor, can attend school.and have a future.
Sometimes I hear stories that are so sad, they stay with me for a long, long time. And, as time passes, I get more and more adamant that we WILL do something to right the wrong done to the person of whom the story is told. Today, I have such a story for you, of a young man named Rama.
Rama is a jovial 7 year old boy, orphaned after the death of both his parents. He was left under the custody of relatives who later despised him. They developed all ways of disposing of him but couldn't do so. One day, they dumped in a neighborhood far from the family, hoping he'd die or that someone else would take care of him. During that terribly difficult time in his young life, things only got worse. He was hit on the right side parietal bone by a falling coconut which left the little one paralyzed on the left side for a short time, but now, his left arm & leg are weak.
He was collected by a well wisher, a grandmother who volunteered to take care of him together with her three grandchildren. She is widowed and jobless but said she'd take care of Rama - how could she leave him to die or to fend for himself at such a young age? The first thing grandma did was to bring Rama to our clinic in Mombasa, where he was tested. Indeed, he is HIV+, so he receives medical care and medicine free of charge from the clinic where he also attends Kids Club. Despite the weakness on his left side, this young boy is full of life and joy, playing hard and learning everything he can during Kids Club. He looks forward to visiting the clinic for his monthly stash of medicine and easily won everyone's hearts.
One of the most diffcult things for grandma, though, was to pay for Rama's school fees, uniform and shoes, though. She barely had the funds to pay for her grandchildren...how could she add another child to the list of costs? This is where we stepped in again and Rama now doesn't have to worry about missing school, thanks to his fees and costs being covered by folks like you. I tell you, there is nothing better than walking up to the clinic while Kids Club is happening and looking for the kids we've helped and who are in our programs. Whenever I see Rama, I know that I am going to be met by a huge smile and the tightest hug I could ever ask for. He breathes in my neck and I breathe into his and we both know he'll be fine.
If you ever want to meet Rama, let me know and I'll make it happen. We take teams to visit some of our projects and I know grandma, Rama and the other kids would love to see you there. Just drop me a note at tweaver@AFCAids.org and let's dream together of getting you to Mombasa, Kenya to meet Rama and others you've helped.
Grace is an 11 year old girl from the Kiembeni area of Mombasa and has been seen at the Mbungoni, where she goes monthly for checkups and to receive medication. Her mother Rose is also HIV+.
Grace is an active member of the junior youth support group, which meets once a month. This group of kids gets to spend time together with no stigma issues. They enjoy play, a meal, and good time with friends. They alsoreceive education on things like adherence (they must take their medicine even if they are feeling better), disclosure (when do you tell a child they are positive? When does that child share with friends?), stigma and cleanliness. So far, Grace has been adhering well to the drugs, even when she is healthy and feels fine. We trust this will continue!
Grace is in form 4 at her school and she was worried about not being able to continue school because she was behind on her feed. Now, with her school dues paid, she was very grateful for that support and to continue in school. She is a good student, studying and finishing her work on time. She is another child who knows that hereducation and how well she does will affect her ability to leave the cycle of poverty, so she tries very hard to get good marks and to do her studies.
Besides school fees, Grace also benefited from the gift a bed, a mattress and a mosquito net, as she was sleeping on the floor, unprotected. Her mom is receiving trainings on prevention with positives and nutrition and is visited in their home for more counseling sessions to enable them adhere well to treatment. Her mother sells greenvegetables door to door, which is where she gets money to pay for rent and meet other basic needs.
Thank you for supporting Grace!
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