Home-Based Care

Home-Based Community-Supported Orphan Care

Almost all the AIDS orphans we have met have told a story or two on stigma, on discrimination and of cruelty at the hands of their communities and even sometimes, family members. We believe that such behavior stems from ignorance and conditioning and is not, as much as it might seem, a sign of hatred. We strongly believe that it is possible to sensitize communities towards the plight of HIV/AIDS sufferers and victims by preaching tolerance.

How does one achieve this? One of ways is by preaching tolerance. Bazaar style meetings are a great way to interactively involve the community in matters relating to HIV/AIDS. These open forums allow for healthy, honest discussions on such issues and also for community counseling on the importance of tolerance and compassion for those community members affected or infected by the epidemic. Additionally, such sessions present an opportunity for communities to be educated on HIV/AIDS prevention through lectures, demonstrations and play-acting.

The African sense of community has always been a source of pride. With a commitment to tradition, most African communities believe that it takes a village to raise a child. Extended family members and neighbors alike, usually play active roles in molding children and consider all children, community “property”.

Poverty and HIV/AIDS however, threat to destroy this tradition and sense of kinship. The two work side-by-side feeding off of each other. HIV/AIDS, as well all know, mostly affects persons in their prime and who typically are breadwinners. Once the illness consumes its victims, it incapacitates them and prevents them from earning an income and from supporting family. And as would be expected, the disease brings with it the additional financial burden of dealing with medical bills. Family members who are then left in custody of the AIDS orphans find themselves pressured to cope with caring for their families as well as these children, a feat that most are now incapable of doing.

How can we change this? The answer is empowerment. Communities WANT to help, they just can’t afford to! When supported, communities take on a different approach…they embrace their orphans. They revert back to their traditional values and participate in orphan lives as they would with any other ordinary child. We believe that is it very important for our children to have a sense of belonging and to remain in their homesteads rather than live in orphanages, which we view to be necessary, only if home-based care is unavailable. To make this possible, Twana Twitu fully supports its children and involves the community in all its family oriented events. The participation of all, on this level, creates a sense of harmony, love and family that both our communities and children need.