Update on AIDS Patient Family Support Program: Continuing the transition to independent living…
Mark is in Cambodia where he is engaged in a detailed review of our programs. His particular area of focus is our AIDS Patient Family Support Program ( FSP) , which helps indigent families and mothers impacted by extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS.
Returning to the heart of our initial mission statement for the FSP in 2000, our focus over the past year has turned to identifying those members of the FSP who are poorest and sickest and who have no means of support.
Over the years during which the FSP has been active, we have grateful that due to the continuing advancement and accessibility of medical treatment to victims of HIV/AIDS, the families in our FSP have been able to stay together longer. Rather than losing mothers and family members to AIDS in a few months, medical treatment and medication has allowed many of our families to experience an unprecedented long period of relative stability and some, while not well, have been able to remain in our care for several years.
We have been able to achieve our basic mission of assisting fragile families ( primarily single parent) to stay together and live an extremely modest lifestyle. Additionally, our effort and focus on keeping dependent children in school has paid off. We not only can claim a significant number of high school graduates among the children who have been members of our FSP over the years, but also several college students and recently 2 college graduates.
Over the past year, we have actively worked to assess which families should be capable, in the short term, of a transition to independence or a transition toward receiving the support of their own extended families. We have identified a number of families who fit in these categories. Dependent children have now grown up and completed school, and in some instances, are able to earn enough to support the family. In recent years, the Cambodian economy has continued to recover from the devastation of a civil war now decades past. The economy has added factory and other jobs and shows some signs of continued prospects for growth. We feel that this improved economy should allow relatives to step forward now and assume responsibility or provide assistance to some members of our FSP. Now as we approach the end of 2013, we are actively working to put an action plan in place to move toward this goal.
In recent days, Cambodia has unexpectedly experienced significant civil unrest due to a contested national election. This may spill over into areas such as personal safety which could impact tourism and industry and impact donor sentiment. Stability has and will be a key factor aiding or impeding our efforts.
Mark will return to the US on October 3. After that time we should be able to provide additional updates.
Our sincere thanks to our donors for their generous support.