In 2001 we welcomed a new family of four into our AIDS Patient Family Support Program (FSP) . The father had AIDS and died in 2002, shortly after the family joined the program, leaving behind the mother then about age 30 and two young daughters age 3 and age 5. All were HIV positive. And although not symptomatic with AIDS, everyone has been in and out of periods of very poor health. Over the years, the mother developed AIDS and was at times quite ill. Thankfully due to access to medical care and availability of appropriate medications, all three members of this family are still together today despite facing many serious health challenges due to their HIV status.
Cambodia is a country, where until quite recently, it was thought to be that only about 40% of all elementary school students even entered high school, and fewer still graduated. Currently the youngest daughter , an average student, is about to graduate from High School and she has hopes finding an office job. The older daughter , just now 20, has managed to get a job doing part time office work.
The family still lives in their original modest home and over the years, the mother has worked, health permitting, in a market stall, in the Central Market . She now earns about $ 150 per month.
The FSP still continues to support this family by paying school uniform, supply and other fees for the high school student ( about $10 to $ 15 per month) and by providing a modest food allowance to the family of $ 40 per month.
In the early years, this fragile family could have not survived without the help given by our program. When the mother’s health was quite bad, our program’s weekly home visits, assistance in providing access to medical care and medicines were the lifeline that held this family together. Now, over these many years, this fragile family has aspired , quite simply, to have an ordinary life.
In our developed world, a goal of achieving an ordinary life might be looked down upon. However, for families in our program, aspiring to and having an " ordinary life" is the stuff from which dreams are made.
Success stories like these are only possible due to the kindness of our supporters. We are deeply grateful to you all for your generous support. It truly does make a difference.
Barbara & Mark Rosasco
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