Children
 Zambia
Project #16571

Safe parks for children impacted by HIV in Zambia

by Power of Love Foundation
Vetted

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:

Power of Love’s, “Safe Park” program continues to provide a safe and happy environment for children to play and learn. At this time several hundred children from the community participate regularly in “Safe Park” activities and 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 do better at school. In addition, the children develop a sense of belonging in their community and hope for the future.

Typical Activities:  For children under five years of age, activities such as games (head, shoulders, knees, and toes), singing, coloring, storytelling, and role play teaches team work, following directions, and important life skills. Pre-school age children participate with enthusiasm in games and activities. Children ages 6-10 years old are encouraged to work in groups and express their thoughts via drawing and coloring. Children ages 11-16 engage in discussions relevant to adolescents such as prevention of STD’s, HIV, and safe sex. In addition, they discuss career goals, the process of achieving these goals (via strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities analysis), the importance of staying healthy and in school, and finally not giving up in the face of adverse circumstances. These discussions help the child understand their problems and find solutions unique to their background.

Finally, children who feel alone and isolated are introduced to other children. Family members are counselled as needed.        

Impact: As the children learn and play during Safe Park activities, our community health workers get an opportunity to discuss the child’s physical and mental growth with their family members. During these conversations we learnt that residents are grateful for this program as their children are playing, learning, and mixing freely with all children irrespective of their HIV status. Family members communicated that free play and structured activities lead to learning, keep children happy, reduce stigma associated with HIV, and keep children off the streets where they may be abused. Finally, help with homework leads to higher school attendance and performance.   

At this time, 780 children are enrolled in our Safe Parks program and 70-80 children participate every week.

Need for “Safe Park”: Our "Safe Park" program is located in Matero which is one of the largest (population of around 275,000) and poorest compounds in Lusaka, Zambia. Most residents are poor and live on less than $2 per day due to unemployment rates upwards of 60% and a high incidence of HIV and malaria. 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. 

Overall, “Safe Park” activities continue to provide children in the community of Matero an opportunity to play, and learn in a safe environment every Saturday morning. Children enrolled in our pediatric HIV care program participate regularly and bring their friends over to play with our trained staff.

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

Links:

The Power of Love team would like to wish you a very happy holiday season and express thanks for your caring, encouragement, and support throughout the year. Your support has given the gift of joy and well-being to several hundred children growing up in an impoverished community in Zambia. Some of our key accomplishments in 2015 were:

  1. 760 children had fun playing and learning via educational games with our trained child care workers and interacting with other children.
  2. Parents/family members of 250 children were provided with counseling regarding the child’s mental and physical growth.
  3. Older children acted as mentors and role models for younger children in the program.

Plans for 2016: Going forward we will recruit an additional 20 older children/young adults as volunteers who will be organizing educational games and activities for the younger children. 

Please take a moment and treat yourself to this short video in which our children are singing and playing a popular Zambian game called "Chiligogogogo chili paliwe" . We are confident that this video will brighten your day. 

Power of Love's, Safe Parks program provides a safe environment for children to play, learn and interact with each other. We could not have achieved our goals without each of you. 

Have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, and laughter!

Thank you! 

Links:

Power of Love’s, “Safe Park” program continues to provide a safe and happy environment for children to play and learn. At this time several hundred children from the community participate regularly in “Safe Park” activities and show a significant improvement in their physical, social, emotional and intellectual development and overall health. With better health they are able to attend school, interact better with their peers, and show an improvement in school performance. In addition, the children develop a sense of belonging in their community and hope for the future.

Impact of “Safe Park” activities: For children who participate regularly we see the following benefits:  

  1. Helps children gain self-confidence, express themselves and finds ways to solve problems. 
  2. Free and structured play, improves the bond between family members as children are happier.
  3. Better health, fewer missed days at school, and higher school performance as a result of education provided on hygiene and prevention of HIV and malaria.
  4. Reduction in stigma associated with HIV as all children interact freely irrespective of their status.
  5. Increased knowledge of HIV prevention as older children are provided with information about prevention of HIV, treatment and care, and about STD’s, safe sex, and condom usage.
  6. School performance and interest in school improves as children are encouraged to ask for help with schoolwork and are provided with homework assistance.
  7. Improvement in self-esteem as younger children are encouraged to express their feelings and fears via drawings.

Educational games and activities facilitate discussions that benefit the children’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual development and overall health. In addition, psychosocial support provided helps the child adjust to his/her difficult environment. A simple snack is also provided.

Overall, “Safe Park” activitiescontinue to provide children in the community of Matero an opportunity to play, and learn in a safe environment every Saturday morning. Children enrolled in our pediatric HIV care program participate regularly and bring their friends over to play with our trained staff. 

Need for “Safe Park”: Our "Safe Park" program is located in Matero which is one of the largest (population of around 275,000) and poorest compounds in Lusaka, Zambia with an unemployment rate upwards of 60% and a high incidence of HIV and malaria. Most residents live on less than a dollar a day. 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. 

Thanks for giving joy and happiness 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
$65 raised of $11,748 goal
 
3 donations
$11,683 to go
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