Posts Tagged ‘hiv/aids’

As Cicero said, “It is our special duty, that if anyone needs our help, we should give him such help to the utmost of our power.” When doing this, let us especially help children, who are our greatest resource.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic has left behind many orphans and vulnerable children in the Rooigrond Informal Settlement Area. Kids are left to care for their younger siblings and some more fortunate are taken in by relatives who cannot afford to maintain them.

In light of this situation, we once more joined hands with Project: LAYLA, who kindly extended the number of their 2nd Anniversary beneficiaries, to include 16 of the worst off Orphans and vulnerable children in the village.

There were lots of tears, as some of these children had never in their life worn their own clothes or as some recalled how they had never received clothes since their parents death. One little girl even changed right there and then.

HIV/AIDS is something that affects us all, as it tears lives apart. In our aim to create a better world, let us not forget these children, the worst victims of this pandemic.

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“No one can lead our lives for us. We are responsible for our actions. So people -especially the younger generation- need to be very careful especially where safe sex is concerned.”~ Salman Ahmad

The HIV/AIDS rate in the Rooigrond Informal Settlement area is very alarming and has had an impact that reaches beyond the infected’s family. The community has a large number of child-headed homes and some family’s have overcrowded their shacks due to taking in their relatives children- the children who get left behind. This deadly phenomenon is perpetuated by ignorance about the disease and years of wrong learning.

Amongst the youth, particularly the males, one often the old excuse that one “can’t eat a sweet with a wrapper on”, in reference to condoms. It’s taken as a sign of cowardice to use them- a sign of unmanliness. This plus the a long list of sex-related myths, only serves to perpetuate the problems this cycle of careless about sex has brought. Young males need to be taught that, there’s nothing manly about digging your own grave.

With their female counterparts, however, the reasons more commonly given for a lack of condom usage are more often than not, “he doesn’t like them”; “he’ll leave me” and “I love him”. It’s of utmost importance that we teach our young ladies that sex isn’t a tool to be used to keep a man, especially unsafe sex. Is it worth your life to prove to another how much you love them?

It is with this in mind, that we decided to seek out partnerships that would assist in the eradication of this problem. Southern Cross Capacitating Corporation, was quick to respond to our calls and provided HIV/AIDS and Lifeskills training (over a period of 5 days) to thirty youths. It was very interactive, informative and dispelled many of the sex-related myths within the community. On the 5th day, the participants of the training were assessed and on the 20th November 2010, a ‘graduation ceremony’ was hosted in the Rooigrond Informal Settlement. The training participants, who all passed the assessment, received certificates during this beautiful event.

The sense of achievement this brought to the youth, has been very beautiful to witness. This coupled with their keenness to share the knowledge they gained with others, has had quite an positive impact on the youth as a whole. More evidence that indeed, “together, we can overcome…”