Rose* first started attending the Meetse a Bophelo after school center in 2011. When we met her, she was merely skin and bones. She came to our center with no life in her eyes. She could barely stand to look a teacher in the eye or play with the children.
Her mother had passed away from an AIDS related illness and she was living with the fear that she was going to suffer in the same way. Nutrition plays a huge role in everyone's health but is even more important with those living with HIV.
Seeing Rose struggle to gain weight was hard to watch. She had been eating at home, but like many of our children her diet consisted mostly of pap and bread.
As soon as she started at our center, she began receiving a Nucleo nutritious drink in addition to well-balanced and healthy lunches. Due to the severity of her malnourishment, we also gave Nucleo to her grandmother so that she could drink it at home.
Within a few months, Rose managed to gain a few kgs. This continued to progress as the weeks and months went on. She proudly came to us one day, after finishing her Nucleo, and declared that she was now fat!
The change that took place through love and extra nutrition was remarkable to witness. Rose has now graduated our programme as she has entered into high school. She is healthy, happy and has a heart of thankfulness to God.
Rose is only one of the 30 children on Nucleo who has benefited greatly from the extra nourishment and vitamins. We are thankful for how the drink has helped our children regain health in many situations and also kept them from getting sick in the cold rainy months.
*Name changed for the privary of the child.
Rosemary Hack, the founder of AIDSLINK International, along with her husband Michael, visited Operation Mercy Iran.
Operation Mercy Iran and AIDSLINK International have been partnering since 2008, and have conducted a number of trainings.
The most recent training was a three-day workshop entitled "HIV/AIDS Prevention Workshop" for local NGO's in Feb. 2013
Rosemary and Michael trained Operation Mercy staff regarding daily challenges in the field e.g. cultural intelligence (for expat staff), team building skills, and coping with personal challenges.
UNAIDS reports a 52% reduction in new HIV infections among children and a combined 33% reduction among adults and children since 2001.
This is fantastic! All of us involved in AIDSLink International are thrilled. However, the temptation is to take our foot off the gas - in reality this is a crucial time - if we want to see these gains continue, there is absolutely no room for complacency. We must continue to TRANSMIT HOPE!
It was a thrill to read a report from the AIDSLink team at Lake Tanganyika. They have just started an HIV counseling and testing programme in very remote villages where neither HIV testing or treatment were previously available.
They test people for HIV and if they are found positive immediately test their CD4 count and if needed put them on treatment right away. In one village of 67 people tested, 6 were positive and 5 of those were able to start treatment within 30 minutes of diagnosis. One person said that they had been unwell for 8 years - no one had been able to tell them why or offer help.
Not so long ago an HIV diagnosis would have been a death sentence, but now we can put people on treatment, which when adhered to correctly, will enable them to live a healthy life. And, because it keeps the virus under control, they are less likely to transmit HIV to others.
Dani Choi, from S. Korea, who is working with Orphans and Vulnerable Children and Drug Users in Mamelodi, South Africa recently went through the Channels of Hope Facilitator’s Training (for those working in the field of HIV and AIDS).
After the course she wrote, “I can't stop tearing up at the moment as I'm reading through all the questions that I got from the schools at which I teach life orientation including HIV and AIDS information.
“Here are some of their questions:
Do you feel it when HIV enters into your body or when the virus fights you? Can you hear it?
How can you fight HIV?
If someone is HIV positive and I want to help him, but I'm afraid... What should I do?
Why can HIV not be cured?
“If I hadn't taken the training, I wouldn't feel anything about those questions, rather just ignore some stupid ones!
“It gives me hope that I feel something in my heart, seeing the needy concerning HIV and AIDS...
So, the training has already made difference in my mind.”
27 people from 7 different organisations and 18 countries took the “Channels of Hope” Facilitator’s training conducted by AIDSLink International.
They, like Dani, are now being Channels of Hope in Africa and to the ends of the earth!