There are currently 35.3 million people globally living with HIV and 1.6million Aids related deaths a year. Every day 650 babies are born with HIV and 47% of people living with HIV are women. The Christian Brothers and the Edmund Rice Network have come together to help improve the daily lives of people living with this disease.
One such project is Education for Life, which is based in Eldoret in Kenya. The Education for Life project is committed to promoting human dignity, a positive lifestyle promoted through various programmes, advocacy that aims to reduce the stigma associated with HIV/Aids and supporting orphans and vulnerable children who have been affected by the disease. The project currently helps 450 orphans and vulnerable children and supports over 500 adults living with HIV/AIDS through workshops, home visits, food distribution and income generating programmes.
Annet, a member of the Education for Life community, describe her experience and how the project has changed her life:
‘I was introduced to Education for Life (EFL) in 2005 after knowing my HIV status. Through the counselling I realized life has to continue. As I struggled to cope my sister died of HIV and left me her five children one of whom was HIV positive. EFL assisted me to place two of the children in a children’s home. Later my two daughters died of HIV and left two grandchildren one who is also HIV positive. It has been challenging to take care of myself and the two children on antiretroviral medication. The older one is now sitting for her KCPE exams, the younger one is in pre- school and EFL put her on milk project which has made her health pick up well and they also take care of her school fees and school uniform. Through EFL my niece went to vocational training and can now pay rent for herself and take care of her expenses. I am involved in bead making in EFL and able to join the economic empowerment Savings and Internal Loans (SILC) group.
I have become stronger and can now face any difficulty because of EFL programme, thank you so much and may God bless you all.’