Africa is still the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In Africa, you are either infected with HIV/AIDS or you are affected by your family and friends being infected. It impacts all socioeconomic levels of society with the poor and vulnerable at highest risk. According to the UN AIDS Fact Sheet (2017): * AIDS is the leading cause of death in Africa over malaria and water-borne diseases. Vast majority of these infected live in low- to middle-income countries where access to antiretroviral therapy is limited. * 66% of new infections occur in Africa, with 53% of new infections being women over the age of 15. * Approximately 25.6 million people or 9% of the total population of Africa is infected with HIV. * Zimbabwe has about 1.2 million people infected with HIV with 16.7 % of women ages 15-64. * Worldwide, women are at most risk of being infected. HIV prevalence rates are going down worldwide, but in Africa there is still much that needs to be done. In the meantime, there are still over a million orphans in each country of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition, millions of women lose everything because of their HIV status. For the orphans, once the parents, and aunts and uncles pass away, then it is the elderly grandmothers and great grandmothers who care for the orphans -- most often with no means of support. They have no hope and live in abject poverty.
We partner with these HIV+ women, widows and elderly grandmothers to break the cycle of poverty and bring lasting change with hope!
Even though it is against the law, in Africa when the husband dies his family (brothers or uncles) often steal all the belongings of the late husband leaving the widow penniless and sometimes homeless. When a woman’s HIV+ status is revealed, usually her husband (if still living) abandons her and their children. These widows and HIV+ women need help to overcome these overwhelming obstacles.
We partner with these women to provide social and economic empowerment. Through training using the Village Savings and Loan model, these women learn how to save, invest, take out small business loans, and start their own micro-enterprise. Studies show that these women have a payback rate of their loans of almost 100% because they want to make sure their children and grandchildren are provided for. This is one of the most effective ways of keeping orphans under the care of extended families and not living in child-headed households or on the streets. These women become fulfilled, productive members giving back and investing in their communities. As a result, the community begins to thrive -- it is a win/win for orphans, vulnerable children, widows, HIV+ women, and elderly grandmothers!
This #World AIDS Day, please consider helping more widows and HIV+ women achieve their dreams and break the cycle of poverty. For only $50, a woman is trained in micro-enterprise in locally-managed, self-sustaining savings and loan groups. Any gift amount will help!