See following post to understand this one… This is the organization I will be heading to Mozambique to support in October.
“First the actual work of care and education can only be done by local people working in their own communities. It is they, the poorest and the weakest, who are bearing the greatest burden. Inspired by their example, all of us must make ourselves their true partners. We must listen to their needs and their assessments, and give them the strategic support they so richly deserve.”-
Kofi A. Annan, Secretary-General for the United Nations
The HIV/AIDS pandemic is the most serious threat facing Mozambique. It is estimated that by 2010, over 630,000 will be orphaned by the disease. In response to this growing crisis, Reencontro, a local non-profit organization in Mozambique, offers services to children orphaned by AIDS.
Reencontro contributes towards alleviating the plight of AIDS orphans in Mozambique by reducing the negative impact made by broken family structures. To meet the commitment Reencontro promotes better socio-economic and psychosocial condition, encourages proper health-care practices, and provides education to create better overall living conditions for AIDS orphans.
Challenges Facing Children Orphaned by AIDS
• Difficulty in accessing basic services- such as health, education, food, legal, financial and psychosocial services
• A very limited choice of livelihood strategies and means of generating income
• A tendency to rely on negative coping strategies, such as early pregnancy/marriage, commercial sex, or harmful forms of labor
• A heavy responsibility, particularly for children who are heads of household, for the survival and wellbeing of other members of the household
Reencontro provides access to basic services and social assistance through community-based home care for children orphaned by AIDS. Community support groups identify orphans and through home visits provide adequate assistance and care through the following initiatives:
o Reencontro fights poverty through education by offering support through enrolling children in school, paying for school fees, and by purchasing school supplies and uniforms.
o Community groups actively monitor the learning progress of registered children
“One generation has been wiped out due to AIDS,” says Salvation Army social worker Thebisa Chaava, “the next one will be lost due to lack of schooling.”
• Health Services:
o Community support groups monitor the health of these children while securing minimum health care, some of whom (most likely less than 5 years old) are HIV positive.
o Medical aid and support includes treatment and counseling by certified nurses that conduct home visits. If further medical attention is necessary after the nurse’s first assessment, the child will be taken to the hospital where Reencontro will cover necessary prescriptions and medical tests.
• Preventative Education:
o Reencontro promotes continuing education on matters of sexual and reproductive health, HIV/STDs prevention, transmission and combating the use of drugs and alcohol. While activists provide moral support and counseling to orphans, the program also promotes peer collaboration for AIDS awareness.
o Reencontro works to promote AIDS awareness among the youth while working in collaboration with adolescent AIDS orphans. These children who have lived the drama and devastation of AIDS in their families meet weekly in school classrooms and in their free time to conduct preventative talks with their peers. The same groups also assist in caring for AIDS victims and orphans in the community.
• Professional Skills & Income Generation Empowerment:
o Along with access to primary education, Reencontro provides vocational training for head of household children. The program currently provides sewing, photography, carpentry, upholstery, chicken rearing, and shoe making classes
o . The program motivates children with initiatives of small income generation development in order to empower them economically.
• Food & Nutrition:
o In Mozambique, one in every five children under five years old is severely nutritionally deprived. To assure that the children receive proper nutritional care, community activists distribute a minimum weekly food ration to the orphans.
o Reecontro uses a designated plot to harvest food to keep children nourished and sell the remainder as a way to obtain operational viability.
Reencontro recognizes that the needs of orphaned children are inter-dependent and that actions need to address them, as a whole if the program is to make a significant difference in the quality of the children’s lives. Through this holistic approach, Reencontro is currently reaching over 7,000 children orphaned by AIDS in Mozambique.