The more funding we receive the more improvements are made. The invaluable HIV/AIDS workshops are making a significant difference to rural communities who have previously received little assistance. They educate the people about the dangers of the disease, help to remove the stigmatism, invite members of the community to come forward to be tested and for those who are HIV positive, treatment and counselling is readily available.
An example of this was in the outreach village of Kamwi, where 56 people came forward to be tested after listening to talks and drama performances. Twelve people were tested positive, which means that they can be treated and educated on how to lead a normal life and remain a member of their community. In the following days more came to the main clinic to be tested.
The educational DVD's on four topics concerning HIV have been distributed to a number of schools, clinics, hotels, lodges and govenernmental offices, including the presidential office. We mainly target the school children between 12-18 years as we believe that they are the future and the ones who can make the change. Through education they can then take their knowledge back to their community to 'spread the word'. We warn them about the dangers of unsafe sex, teenage pregnancies and the use of alcohol and drugs, which can all lead to catching the HIV virus.
Though there is improvement there is still far too many children being orphaned. Every month there are new cases and many have to drop out of school. We are currently sponsoring orphans 300 individual orphans besides offering daily nutritional feeding programmes and improved healthcare. There are twelve schools in the Chiefdom and we offer support to ten of these schools, all of which have a substantial number of orphans, who struggle to find the school fees. It is crucial to get them back into education as soon as possible. For an orphan who has lost parents and ofgten their home, edcuation becomes the most important part of their life.
The HIV/AIDS funding is vital and has definitely made a considerable difference to these Zambia villages.
Our aim for the forthcoming months is to fund additional workshops in rural villages.