By Jennifer Browning
For World AIDS Day today, Project Medishare will have a memorial in remembrance of those who have succumbed to the disease. The memorial will take place in Casse/Lahoye. Following the memorial, four small group sessions will be held in four densely populated areas. This afternoon various youth groups will perform presentations involving theater and dance. The youth presentations will focus on the stigmatization of HIV/AIDS, as well as abstinence and faithfulness. Education materials will be distributed throughout the day.
Last year during World AIDS Day, Project Medishare received a $1.25 million grant through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The award, which focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention activities, is part of a $4.8 million grant to Cross International, a South Florida-based interdenominational Christian humanitarian agency.
Project Medishare, as part of the PEPFAR program, has enrolled 250 children from all regions of LaHoye. The children receive health services, psychosocial support, birth certificates to orphans and vulnerable children, as well as training for caregivers on parenting, health and other topics. In addition to providing these services, through the PEPFAR grant, Project Medishare provides financial support for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in order to help them start micro enterprise and other income generating activities.
Thus far, we have provided 49 children with primary school tuition and 34 children with birth certificates. Thanks to the PEPFAR program, 10 individuals have publicly declared their HIV positive status. In response to this, Project Medishare has started a PLWHA support group with these individuals which is slowly growing to more members.
In order to provide education regarding HIV/AIDS, Project Medishare hired and trained 16 peer educators to educate and mobilize the local youth. In addition, 10 health promoters from various locations in LaHoye have been trained to educate, mobilize community members as well as elected officials in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
**This report is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Cross International and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.