In a place where there is a high percentage of individuals & families suffering from HIV/Aids, the real suffering occurs when the community turns its back on those in need instead of stepping in to support their own. In the Kibera slum in Kenya, Peter and his staff at HEKO are striving to reverse this problem. In a place where the church should be stepping up to lead & “care for the poor” in this situation, this place that should be one of rescue & restoration is actually virtually useless and detrimental.
Peter and his team conducted a study with the local church to find some answers; these were the results:
- The majority of church members have felt the extent of the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
- Gossip is the main source of how they know who has the HIV and AIDS.
- There is significant loss of membership and tithe/offering returns.
- Level of stigma is unbelievably high.
- Level of awareness on transmission is very low.
- Limited church initiated programmes on care and support.
- Use of condoms are highly condemned and this position is non-negotiable.
- Screening and testing for HIV is highly opposed.
- Churches have not developed any activities or associated plans for the People Living with HIV/AIDS or family households affected by the HIV pandemic.
- Church leaders and many parents are not prepared to tackle the issues, except the youths who feel free to share sexual experiences and discuss challenges with each other.
- Lack of human material and capital resources including training, capacity building, material acquisition, curriculum development particularly on the sex education for youth, visionary leadership and resources acquisition to care and support OVCs and PLWHAs.
So, there is a vacancy in the space of help & support and Peter and his staff at HEKO are stepping right in. Here are the services they offer:
|· Health and Nutrition Education:||General well-being of the person and the value of good balanced diet to PLWHA on ARVs-ART.|
|· Food Relief and Social Support:||For the support of PLWHA, OVCs and Home Based Care givers for improved livelihood.|
|· Sports and Recreation:||To help improve good body health and social relationships among different target groups irrespective of status, age, tribe, culture and religious affiliations.|
|· Economic Empowerment:||To PLWHA, OVCs, Care Givers linked to opportunities for income generating activities.|
|· Counselling:||To PLWHA, OVCs, family household, drug addicts and other risky behaviors and negative lifestyle.|
|· Life Skills:||Psychosocial skills required in all aspects of young peoples lives that is critical to controlling HIV/AIDS among the youths as well as other aspects of education that highlighted participatory methodologies of the empowerment in all the activities and processes of decision making that concern the youth.|
|· Discordant Couples:||Special counselling service to couples where only one partner is infected or living HIV positive.|
|· Alcohol and Drug Abuse:||Small changes can make a big difference in reducing harmful effects and chances of having alcohol-drug related problems among the youth. Drug and substance abuse is linked to the rising crime rate, HIV/AIDS prevalence, schools unrest, family dysfunction, poverty and other malaise in the community. The youths are deliberately and tactfully recruited into the drug culture through personal factor, uncontrolled media influences and other related social exposure.|
HEKO’s presence in the community is vital to closing the door on stigmatization, opening the door to community building, and ultimately ending the HIV/Aids pandemic. When you support Mocha Club and it’s healthcare initiatives, you are part of this eradication. Thank you.