2021 proved to be a difficult year regarding the health of individuals across the world. COVID-19 has maintained a strong grasp on social endeavors and the individual health of so many people. But HIV has also been a large factor in the lives of all of the children in Makindu. All children in the care of Makindu Children's Center are affected and/or infected with HIV. This might mean the guardian is infected or cousins and siblings that live in the household are infected. It might mean that the child's parent(s) died of AIDS, or that the child is infected and living with HIV. In 2021, 69 children received comprehensive coordinated HIV treatment and care. This is crucial for their health management. Our trained social workers provide support and care at the Center and at home visits. As often as possible, fresh produce from the garden or "shamba" complements the meals from the Center - this is often eggplant, kale and/or tomatoes. Currently the mangos are ripe and ready and a juicy delight for the children. The beloved cow Thelma Mae continues to provide more than enough milk for all kids and guardians who visit the Center. Her baby cow Winnie is growing strong and will one day also provide milk for the children. Excess milk is often sent home with kids who live near the center. Much milk is also sold to the local community to help offset costs. These vulnerable immuno-compromised children receive extra of these resources that help them continue to thrive every day. Maintaining this level of support and effort for the children is what keeps them safe, happy, and as healthy as possible during these uncertain times we live in.
Makindu Children's Program currently serves 46 kids with HIV and 67 guardians with HIV. Keeping them healthy and hopeful is a top priority. During this pandemic it has become apparent how extremely important sanitation and water is to help us reach that goal. Miraculously, even with their diminished immune system, no HIV child or guardian has fallen ill with COVID-19. We believe this is largely due to the water we now have access to due to the successful drilling of our borehole a few years ago. With the unlimited water the borehole provides to the Center, we have installed 5-spigot handwashing stations at the Center. Along with educational outreach on proper hygiene behaviors, sanitation amongst the children and throughout the campus has dramatically improved.
Further, those that live within walking distance from the Children's Center can carry home water home for cooking and cleaning. This allows them to replenish their water jugs at the tippy-tap stations installed at each household, and practice safe hygiene and sanitation at home.
Finally, the successful borehole has also meant plentiful irrigation for our farm plot at the Children's Center. With this reliable irrigation, we have plenty of papaya, mango, tomatoes, chilis, kale and other vegetables to send home with the HIV kids to their families to help boost their immune systems with nutrient-rich produce.
Water is life, and so very important to the immuno-compromised. Thankfully, donors like you have provided unlimited water, through the successful borehole drilling, to all our families, including the HIV positive. With this water, food and proper sanitation are possible and realized every day. We will continue to utlilize the water to best serve all the children and their families, especially those most vulnerable.
The kids at Makindu Children's Center continue to need your help, especially those living with HIV!
The 46 infected children under the care of Makindu Children's Center receive monthly checkups and anti-retroviral medications. All have adhered well to their medication regimen. However, during this COVID pandemic, these kids remain at extreme risk due to their compromised immune systems. Proper nutrition, sanitation counseling, handwashing stations and masks have been provided to each child and guardian. This comprehensive effort has been instrumental in keeping the kids healthy, and we are proud and relieved to report that no child has become infected with COVID to date.
Those that live walking distance to the Children's Center visit daily for a hot nutritious breakfast, and/or hot lunch. For those that live far away from the Center, emergency bulk food of maize, rice, beans, and cooking oil has been delivered to the households monthly. This daily intake of proper nutrition is key to maintaining a healthy immune system. To further supplement the daily nutrition, the Children's Center farmer delivers fresh produce to the families with HIV. We are lucky the borehole that was drilled in 2014 continues to provide irrigation for the crops, a blessing in the drought stricken region of Makindu.
We appreciate your continued support in helping these children get the care that they so desperately need! The services that the Center is able to provide to these children helps change their lives for the better and allows them to thrive in a happy, healthy life!
Thank you for continuing to support the children of Makindu. We care for many kids who are HIV+ and we are so grateful to be able to, thanks to you. On top of the high risk of the kids getting COVID-19, they also need optimal nutrition to stay healthy. Currently, the unemployment in Kenya is at 30% due to COVID-19, and on top of that, Kenya has been experiencing another drought which caused many crops to fail miserably. We were able to install a solar powered borehole at the Centre, so luckily some of our crops have succeeded like kale, eggplant and tomatoes. We are so happy about being able to send the HIV+ kids home with some fresh veggies along with their usual health checkup, vitamin supplements and receiving antiretroviral medication. To keep ahead of the drought we want to be able to provide nutrition for those in need. We are also working to get the school equipped with better sanitation standards.The school is lacking in soap, water and sanitizer. We so appreciate you continuing to support the children of Makindu and giving them hope.
In addition to the regular challenges that the residents of Makindu face, Covid-19 has intensified the struggles in the community, especially with the amount of food available and health safety in schools. Catching Covid-19 would be drastic for those who are HIV+ or have family members who are.
So, on top of the worry of Covid-19 and HIV+ children, right now the residents of Makindu are facing major challenges. The Makindu community has been educated on how to stay safe from Covid-19 and the schools are back open. However, due to the schools needing to take precautions, people unable to work and the community struggling financially, the school was unable to get any funding for soap, water, food or any intervention. While we are trying to get funding for necessities the school needs to be a Covid-safe space, we are also hoping to keep everyone in good shape and well nourished by providing goats to each family. Each family having a goat would prevent them from having to travel and interact with people on a regular basis to seek out milk and other resources goats provide, naturally keeping their chances of contracting the virus even lower. One goat is $65. Providing each family with a goat will guarantee that the residents will be in good health to continue their education and continue going to school and most of all have stronger immune systems to fight against HIV, the virus or any other illnesses they could get. We are so happy and fortunate to have been able to help slow the spread of Covid-19 for this long, we want to do all we can.
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