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Impact Stories: A life of hope and normalcy for People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) – Part 3

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The Kenya Economic Development Human Advancement Project (KEDHAP) is the development, peacebuilding, and relief arm of the Kenya Mennonite Church in the Diocese of Kisumu East. Thanks to YOUR support, KEDHAP has steadily grown and now serves thousands of participants through a wide range of programs in impoverished rural areas.

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KEDHAP’s primary work is in Female Empowerment, Education, Community Development, Health Education, Peace-making & Reconciliation, Food Security & Income Generation, and Leadership Development. A noteworthy project is KEDHAP’s assistance to People living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA), wherein KEDHAP provides food for those unable to work or grow food, and seeds and other materials for those who can grow their own food.

The PLWHA program has been community-driven since its inception in 2000. By talking openly about the effects of HIV/AIDS on families, creating awareness, and supporting those who have declared their status, KEDHAP has helped reduce the stigma of the disease and encourage responsible behaviour.

A Holistic Approach to Supporting the PLWHAs

KEDHAP works towards improving health (and access to care) through various activities such as providing economically disadvantaged students (especially girls and orphans) with access to secondary education, providing deserving female students with sanitary supplies to allow them to attend school all month-long, supporting orphaned and vulnerable children, improving hygiene practices and education of such in schools, facilitating access to Comprehensive Care Clinics (CCC) for PLWHAs, enabling access to information, enabling capacity-building for KEDHAP-affiliated groups, providing subsidized food and seeds to those in need, and providing alternative options for healthy food through the promotion of organic farming.

Ogen CCC adolescents attending a group therapy meeting.
Adolescents members after receiving Maize and Cash at the Ogen CCC

Stories of Impact: Love, Dignity, and a Sense of Normalcy

One of KEDHAP’s goals is to follow up on the adolescents under their support, understand the impact of their support on these children’s lives and listen to their stories. These impact stories focus on the impact of the support given to beneficiaries through the PLWHA’s Ministry. Read the stories of four adolescents who are members of the ‘Support Groups’ in Tamu and Ogen Comprehensive Care Clinics (previously published here and here).

KEDHAP currently has 78 HIV+ adolescents who are given support monthly in these two facilities. Aside from a collaborative effort involving the government to provide ARV medicine, KEDHAP offers transport, maize, counseling, and seeds to adolescents. These stories target four of the most vulnerable individuals under KEDHAP’s support, who have been enabled to live a life of dignity and normalcy.

Cynthia: Motivation to Live a Healthy Life

Cynthia hugged her mother at the door and walked away. Her mother waved at her and smiled gratefully. Her daughter was now a new child. She smiled more often, and she had more energy. She shuddered as she remembered the quarrels they used to have over her medication..

Cynthia’s parents are both HIV+. They work on neighbouring farms to earn a living.  When Cynthia’s father fell ill, they had to sell their home to pay for treatment. This rendered them homeless, and they resorted to living at the Songhor squatter farm. Cynthia is one of the 39 HIV+ adolescents taking ARV medicine from Tamu CCC. KEDHAP provides these children with transport to reach the facility on time for their monthly appointments.  During such meetings, KEDHAP supplies them with 4 kg of maize and offers counseling services. To boost food security and income among these children, KEDHAP provides maize, beans, carrots, tomatoes, and vegetable seeds to plant back home.

Cynthia's family is grateful for KEDHAP's support.
Cynthia sees a brighter future thanks to your support!
KEDHAP's support has blessed and brought peace to Cynthia and her family.

Initially, Cynthia would miss appointments, and even when she went to the clinic, she would throw away her ARV medication. She secretly threw away the drugs because of a lack of food. Her health was so severely compromised that her mother was constantly being summoned to the clinic over Cynthia’s rising viral load. KEDHAP came to the rescue by giving them transport money and food support. Cynthia began to reach the clinic on time for her medication, counselling, and food. The meal would motivate her to take her medicines on time as her body could tolerate the treatment. KEDHAP’s efforts brought peace to Cynthia’s family since they would no longer quarrel over missed medication!

It comforts me to know that many other children living with the virus have successfully gone through primary and secondary education and are now at university, working towards their future!

Cynthia, HIV+ Patient at Tamu CCC Tweet

Cynthia’s mother is grateful for the counselling she and the other children receive at the hospital. Cynthia has transformed from a weak, shy, and lonely girl into a more robust, confident child who knows she is not alone. It comforts her to know that many other children living with the virus have successfully gone through primary and secondary education and are now at university, working towards their future!

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In her words, “thank you, KEDHAP, for supporting me with transport, food, and medical counseling at the hospital. Your efforts have greatly encouraged me and given me hope. My brother and I are sitting in grade eight this year, but due to my parent’s inability to support our secondary education, I pray that our well-wishers and KEDHAP support me. I wish to proceed with my education and fulfill my vision of becoming a Nurse!”

How can I help?

Thanks to your involvement, these children will grow up with dignity and be empowered to lead healthier lives.

KEDHAP has impacted the lives of hundreds of PLWHAs thanks to YOUR support and encouragement. Your gift can be the difference between a life of fear and a life of empowerment for many vulnerable people like Cynthia!

Are you ready to change a child’s life? Give a gift TODAY here.

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