Oct 25, 2018

Goals for 2019

We are happy to inform you that the children in our Child Sponsorship Program are excelling in school this year, and are already talking (with excitement) about how much they are looking forward to going back to school next year. But, we need your help to make this happen!

As we get closer to the end of the year, we are becoming more aware of Action Two Africa’s need to raise money to support the children in our Child Sponsorship Program for 2019. We currently have six children in the Program who will need financial support for their schooling in 2019, and we are far from meeting our monetary goal to aid in their education. Many of the parents and students are checking in with our partner, Humphrey, to find out if they will in fact be able to go to school next year, and we don’t have a solid answer for them.  We wanted to ask you, our friends, family, and supporters, to help us start off 2019 with a guarantee that we can keep all of these children in school, and continue to work towards empowering youth in Kenya.

While we know that you may never have the opportunity to meet the children in our program, they're no different than children here in America. They want the same things: hope, stability, and a brighter future. Your financial support can help them see the light at the end of that tunnel.

On behalf of all of the children and families you have supported in the past, thank you. Thank you for all that you have done, and for your continued support.  Let's continue to work together and provide these six students with the security of knowing they will be able to go to school in 2019!

 

Aug 20, 2018

The Fight Against Stigma

     Numbers and statistics are great, but today, I want to tell you a story.

     When Christina and I were in Kenya, working in the Kiambiu slum, the issue of HIV and AIDS came up a lot. It was my understanding that they were the cause of hundreds of thousands of deaths in Africa each year. But one day, while talking to Ruth, an HIV positive woman living in the community, she corrected my misunderstanding. “HIV doesn’t kill people, and neither does AIDS.” she said matter-of-factly. “What do you mean?” I asked “If HIV and AIDS aren’t killing people, then what is?” She looked me right in the eye and replied, “Stigma.”

     Ruth found out she was HIV positive 10 years earlier and since then had come to accept her status. She took antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) every day to keep her immune system strong, and for 10 years, she remained fairly healthy. But in the years since she started disclosing her status to people, discrimination plagued her life.

     First it was her family. She told them about her newly discovered status, and they rejected her, kicking her and her three boys out of the house. Then her neighbors. She informed them that she was HIV positive, and they stopped letting their children come to her house and play with her kids. Then her community. She began to advocate against HIV/AIDS stigma, freely divulging her status, and suddenly she was being harassed in public, humiliated by old friends, and shunned by everyone she knew.

     It's precisely these reactions that keep hundreds and thousands of people from getting tested each year. The fear of humiliation, isolation, harassment, and rejection. Some people kill themselves after they find out they have HIV. It’s too much for them to bear. Others simply deny it, pretending they don’t know and refusing to alter their lifestyle. Hundreds of clinics in Kenya, and dozens surrounding Kiambiu offer ARVs for free to HIV positive men and women. And yet many people still refuse to get them. Refuse to take them. Pretend like they aren’t there.

     The lack of education surrounding this disease is exactly what makes it so deadly. Thousands of people are living prosperous lives while still dealing with the reality that they are HIV positive. Thousands more are dying because they are too scared to admit the truth to themselves.

     But there is hope. Ruth told me another story, about a time she talked a man out of ending his own life after finding out he was HIV positive. She cleared up some misconceptions he had about his condition, and then started coaching him back toward the road of stability and hope.

     This is just a fraction of what education does for a community. It allows women like Ruth to combat, not just the devastating effects of HIV and AIDS, but the even deadlier factor that continues to wreak havoc on Kiambiu and other communities like it: stigma.

“Young people must have access to information, HIV testing and treatment free of stigma and discrimination." -Jantine Jacobi (UNAIDS Country Director, Kenya)

Links:

Jul 30, 2018

Godfrey's Story

Godfrey teaching his 2nd/3rd grade class
Godfrey teaching his 2nd/3rd grade class

Tears streamed down Godfrey’s cheeks as he explained how, one day, he wanted to become a teacher. His eyes averted, he struggled to summon the words to explain just how passionate he was about arming the next generation with the most powerful weapon of all: education.

It’s been over two years since Godfrey and his mother first came into our offices at Action Two Africa to ask for assistance with paying his school fees. Humphrey already knew his family. Godfrey was the eldest of three children. His mother sold vegetables at a roadside stand, and his father was a casual laborer. But even between the two of them, they didn’t make enough to keep all three children in school, so they reached out to Action Two Africa for help.

Two years later, Godfrey is a recent graduate from St. Patrick’s Secondary School in Nairobi. He was also recently accepted to the university, where he plans to pursue his degree in education. But in the meantime, as he waits to report for the first day of classes, Godfrey has chosen to spend his days doing something that embodies the mission of Action Two Africa: give back to his local community.

Godfrey is currently volunteering as a teacher in a local school in Kiambiu, teaching 2nd and 3rd graders. He is excited and determined to bring change to his community. As he told Humphrey during a recent conversation, “Not even the sky is the limit for what I plan to achieve."

 
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