Children
 Zambia
Project #16571

Safe parks for children impacted by HIV in Zambia

by Power of Love Foundation
Vetted

The Power of Love team would like to wish you a happy holiday season and express thanks for your caring, encouragement, and support throughout the year. 2016 was an extraordinary year for children and families in our “Safe Park” program which is free and open to all children in the community. With your help, we could provide a safe and happy environment for orphans and vulnerable children to learn and play. Today we have 760 children enrolled and about 70 children participate each week. "Safe Park" activities provide a sense of wellbeing and inclusion as all participants, irrespective of their HIV status, interact and play educational games. In addition, our nurse assesses the children’s mental and physical development, and signs, if any, of trauma, grief, and abuse. If needed the Nurse counsels the family and provides advice regarding next steps.        

Plans for 2017: We are raising funds to expand our “Safe Park” program to a new community. We have identified two communities that have at least 750 children who could benefit from a “Safe Park” in their neighborhood.

Our holiday treat for you: Please take a moment to enjoy this short video, that showcases two little girls learning to dance with older kids at one of our “Safe Park” activities last summer. We are sure this video will brighten your day.

Sending a giant wave of love and best wishes for a joyous holiday season.

Links:

Children enjoying a new set of dolls
Children enjoying a new set of dolls

You are making a difference! As a result of your generosity we are able to provide a safe and learning environment for orphans and vulnerable children from Matero – a community that is characterized with a high incidence of HIV, TB and malaria. Most residents in this community are poor and live on less than $2 per day – defined as extreme poverty by the UN.  

Given below is a story of a typical child who has benefitted from regular participation in "Safe Park" activities and is on track to become a role model for younger children.

Peter is a 12-year old orphan who enrolled in our “Safe Park” program about two years back but started participating regularly 12 months back. He lives with his aunt and cousins in Matero. At the time of enrollment, Peter was quiet, withdrawn, did not smile, missed school regularly and had few friends. Over the last year or so, Peter’s personality has changed and he is a different boy in many ways. He now interacts well with his peers, attends school regularly, has several friends, and like most children his age loves playing soccer. Peter’s aunt is happy as he is doing well at school. She said that the “Safe Park” program has made a significant impact on Peter. Also, his aunt said that Peter is turning into a responsible young boy as he helps with chores at home. Peter participates in all “Safe Park” activities, expresses himself freely, and likes playing with the other children. In addition, he proudly shares his report card with the counsellors during educational activities. We are confident that he will be a wonderful role model/mentor for other kids as he gets older.

This program is making a positive impact on the children from the community of Matero. The children seem happy while playing and learning and better adjusted to home and school. Almost all children who participate regularly show a significant improvement in their overall health. And with better health they are able to attend school, learn and make their families and the community stronger. 

More important, “Safe Park” activities are having a greater impact on children who have been traumatized and/or abused. In these cases, there has been a reduction in grief and trauma, and the child’s relationship with the family has been positively reinforced. In addition, the children develop a sense of belonging and hope for the future.

Your gift of fun and learning, continues to benefit more than 650 children from the community of Matero in Lusaka, Zambia. Thanks!

Children playing and learning
Children playing and learning
Best friends
Best friends
More playtime
More playtime

Links:

A few children after an educational session
A few children after an educational session

The Power of Love team and Zambian families truly appreciate your continued support for our “Safe Parks” program in Zambia. Your support and caring continues to provides an opportunity for vulnerable children/orphans to play and learn in a happy environment.

Goals: Our goal with the“Safe Park”program, is to provide a safe and happy environment for children to play and learn. Community health workers organize games and educational activities that keep the children engaged, happy, and off the streets for a few hours each week. Homework help is also provided. In addition, while the children are busy, qualified health care professionals observe them for any signs of trauma, grief, and distress and counsel the family as needed. In cases of domestic violence and abuse the child is referred to the appropriate agency for further support. The morning session ends with the provision of a snack for all participants.

Who Benefits? Beneficiaries are children and families living in the community of Matero, one of the largest and poorest compounds in Lusaka, Zambia. Every week 80-85 children and their families benefit from this program that is free and open to all children from the community.

Impact: "Safe Park" games and activities help children cope with difficult situations at home and have a positive impact on their mental health. These activities bring a sense of structure, safety, and normalcy to the child’s environment. In addition, psycho-social support provided in an environment which facilitates discussions leads to an improvement in all aspects of the child's health (physical, mental, social, emotional and intellectual).

One of the unexpected but positive outcomes of this program is that older children who are regular participants become mentors and role models for younger children. Older children, under the guidance of our community health workers, teach, play and provide homework help to younger children. As a result, both sets of children feel a sense of belonging in the community. Also, young adults (18-21 years old) from the community join "Safe Parks" as volunteers to play with their younger counterparts and have a great time. Finally, interaction with other children, both HIV+ and HIV free, reduces stigma associated with HIV.  

To Sum: Almost all children who participate regularly show a significant improvement in their overall health. And with better health they are able to attend school, and show an improvement in school performance. Children are encouraged to bring in their report cards from school and many children feel confident enough to share their progress at school.

“Safe Park” activities have had a greater positive impact on children who have been traumatized and/or abused. In these cases, there has been a reduction in grief and trauma, and the child’s relationship with the family has been positively reinforced. In addition, the children develop a sense of belonging and hope for the future.

Thanks for your caring!

Younger children playing with legos
Younger children playing with legos
Children with new toys
Children with new toys

Links:

Father’s day is June 19. Celebrate fathers everywhere by giving a gift of free and structured play to a child growing up in extraordinarily difficult circumstances in Zambia. Your donation will improve the physical and mental health of orphans and vulnerable children through their participation in educational games and activities.    

About “Safe Park: The goal of this program is to create a safe and happy environment for children to play and learn and the program is open and free to all children in the community. Games and educational activities keep the children engaged, happy, and off the streets for a few hours each week. Homework help is provided. In addition, while the children are engaged in activities, qualified health care professionals observe them for any signs of trauma, grief, and distress and counsel the family as needed. In cases of domestic violence and abuse the child is referred to the appropriate agency for further support.  

Location and Need: This program is located in Materoone of the largest and poorest compounds in Lusaka Zambia. This community is characterized with a high rate of unemployment and a high incidence of HIV, AIDS (prevalence rate of 12% among adults aged 15-49), and malaria. Most residents are poor and live on less than $2 per day. This difficult environment impacts the health of children in a number of ways. Further, many children are orphans (they have lost one or both parents to AIDS), many are living with HIV, and most are living with extended family members who are struggling to take care of the family. The children lack a stable environment as they may be passed on from one relative to another, have poor nutrition, lack of schooling, and may suffer from psychological and sexual abuse. As a result, children suffer from anxiety, feelings of abandonment, isolation, poor socialization, alienation, and an inability to adjust to their environment. Older children may find themselves in a position of being caregivers for their sick siblings or parents. Stigma associated with HIV aggravates these issues.   

Impact: Safe Park games and activities help children cope with difficult situations at home and have a positive impact on their mental health. These activities bring a sense of structure, safety, and normalcy to the child’s environment. Interaction with other children, both HIV+ and HIV free, reduces stigma associated with the disease. In addition, psycho-social support provided in an environment which facilitates discussions leads to an improvement in all aspects of the child's health (physical, mental, social, emotional and intellectual).

Almost all children who participate regularly show a significant improvement in their overall health. With better health they are able to attend school, and show an improvement in school performance. As the children do better at school they have started bringing in their progress reports for our child health workers. 

The impact of “Safe Park” activities has been positive on all children but more on children who have been traumatized and/or abused. In most cases, there has been a reduction in grief and trauma, and the child’s relationship with the family has been positively reinforced. In addition, the children develop a sense of belonging and hope for the future.

At this time, 780 children are enrolled and about 80-85 participate every week.

Thanks for giving the gift of health and well-being to vulnerable children in Zambia.

Links:

Happy Mother’s Day from our Zambian families. This Mom’s day give a gift of free and structured play to a child growing up in extraordinarily difficult circumstances in Zambia. Your ongoing support has helped provide a safe area where children can engage in educational activites and games and has gone a long way in helping them grow normally. 

About “Safe Park: This program is free and open to all children in the communty and continues to provide them with a safe and happy environment to play and learn. Games and educational activities keep the children engaged, happy and off the streets for a few hours each week. Homework help is provided. 

Our Nurse and trained health care workers observe the children for any signs of trauma, grief, distress and counsel the family as needed.

Typical activities: Children are divided into groups based on their age. Some of the typical activities are listed below:

For ages 0-5 years: game (head, shoulders, knees, and toes), singing, storytelling, coloring, and hand washing. These activities foster motor control, help the children learn names of body parts in English and help them learn basic hygiene. The younger children participate enthusiastically and cooperate well with each other.

For ages 6-10 years: group discussion (helping each other), drawing, coloring, soccer. These activities help children express their thoughts, develop fine motor skills (how to hold a pencil), and help them understand the importance of teamwork, and cooperation. Participation is good and the children seem happy.

For ages 11-18 years: group discussions on topics relevant to adolescent children such as prevention of STI's, HIV, goal setting, SWOT analysis, importance of school, problem solving, and how to overcome adverse circumstances. Most children participate eagerly and contribute to discussions. Family members of children who not participate, appear sad, or do not communicate are counseled and directed to the appropriate agency for extra support.

Impact: Almost all children who participate regularly show a significant improvement in their physical, social, emotional and intellectual development and overall health. With better health they are able to attend school, and show an improvement in school performance. As the children do better at school they have started bringing in their progress reports for our child health workers.In addition, the children develop a sense of belonging in their community and hope for the future.

The impact of “Safe Park” activities has been much greater on children who were traumatized and/or abused. In most cases, there has been a reduction in grief and trauma, and these children to bounce back to normality. In almost all cases the child’s relationship with the family have been positively reinforced. In cases of domestic violence and abuse the child is referred to the appropraite agency for further support.

At this time, 780 children are enrolled and 70-80 participate every week.

Need for “Safe Park”: Our "Safe Park" program is located in the community of Matero, Lusaka, Zambia. Matero is one of the largest and poorest compounds in Lusaka with a population of around 275,000, and is characterized with a high incidence of HIV, malaria and TB. Most residents are poor and live on less than $2 per day - defined as extreme poverty by the UN. Children face difficult circumstances due to poverty, stigma due to their HIV positive status, sickness within the family, distress and trauma (due to the loss of a parent/family member). Most lack a safe environment to learn and play that is critical for normal development. 

To sum: Residents of the community are grateful as this program gives their children an opportunity for play, learning, and interaction with children who are HIV+ and HIV free. Family members felt that these activities have resulted in reducing stigma associated with HIV, and provided a sense of belonging and well-being to the children. Finally, help with homework leads to higher school attendance and performance.   

Thanks for giving the joy of learning and playing to children in Zambia.

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Power of Love Foundation

Location: San Diego, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.poweroflove.org
Project Leader:
Alka Subramanian
Founder/Director
San Diego, CA United States
$90 raised of $11,748 goal
 
4 donations
$11,658 to go
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