Hope is the Spark that Changes Lives

view in the farmThe American Foundation for AIDS (AFCA) has been working the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since late 2007.  There, we have provided medicine for patients cared for at Tandala Hospital and at 13 smaller clinics throughout the region known as the Ubangi.  With little infrastructure in place (think – no electricity or running water) and with roads that are full of potholes, mud, and puddles, it is always an adventure when we visit the projects to see how things are going!

brews for africaThe American Foundation for Children with AIDS is teaming up for Revolution Brewing Company of Chicago, house of iconic beers such as Anti-Hero and others to bring awareness to AFCA’s work bringing sustainable programs to children infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan African countries.

Guests will enjoy all-you-can-eat, delicious appetizers from the Brewery’s restaurant and will sip the most popular house brews (as many as you’d like!), all while being entertained by Chicago local band, The Crombies. A raffle will be held, as and a kissing booth will be availlable! Really, you don’t want to miss this fun event as you wrap up a long day at work.

sylvia groveVolunteer Profile: Sylvia Grove

“It’s the perfect balance of local efforts and a global change.”

Sylvia Grove joined the American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) four years ago. Grove has been a music festival committee member for the past two years, but she was first introduced to AFCA when she was working with Tanya Weaver, the Executive Director, two years prior.

Grove started with the organization by tutoring Weaver in French. Weaver travels to French speaking African countries, notably the Democratic Republic of the Congo, each year. Grove taught Weaver French so that Weaver could better communicate with those the organization helps.

frameTwelve adolescent girls are about to become farmers. These twelve girls will learn that hard work, patience, care and love for the earth, and a good green thumb will produce food to feed the home where they live and will provide them with skills that will help them in their near and far futures. 

At the Sandra Jones Center (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe), where these girls live, they believe in teaching responsibility and skills that help the girls provide for themselves.  No girl will ever leave the home without being prepared for the future, able to hold a job.  AFCA is part of this work by providing tools needed for such training. 

DRC corn and womanAFCA is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day. Every day, we try our hardest to empower woman in communities stricken with the AIDs virus. Though programming and the work of volunteers, we provide:

      • Safe hospitals and maternity wards equipped with instruments needed for the safe delivery of babies
      • Medicine and counseling for women with AIDs that are pregnant
      • After Care support for women with AIDs to assure their baby is growing and thriving

hellen achieng 600 2All charities are trying to figure out how to capture the attention of the next generation of donors and volunteers.   Heads of charities know that in most cases their support base is made up of aging baby boomers who want to leave the world a better place and have the means to make a difference.   The question is how to get the “Millennial Generation” to buy in and want to get involved?   As a Professor and Program Coordinator, I interact with dozens of millennials every day. 

paintThe 2017 Machu Picchu climbing team continues to work hard to fundraise on behalf of The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA). We’d like to highlight one climber, Nikki, who hosted a paint night to benefit AFCA. A few shots from her evening are posted below and we would like to thank all those who participated and donated. If you’d like to get involved with fundraising and maybe host a paint night of your own…or maybe join a climbing team for the adventure of a lifetime, please let us know!

The Paint Night was a wonderful opportunity to not only support a great cause but create something unique and beautiful surrounded by others in it for the same reason. Everyone enjoyed the company of great people and the artist.  He was funny, made the evening fun and uplifting. He played great music, which really made painting with music a unique experience.

child with logoFor an HIV+ child, taking medications is essential to successful treatment and these medicines should not be taken without food. At AFCA, we see food as part of treatment and we call it Nutrition by Prescription.  We want to make sure that all the children who need it, receive the food they need to take their medicine, to thrive, and to grow.

Sustainable solutions

Prolonged instability in the Zimbabwean economy over the past years, along with a severe drought, has left many homes vulnerable, without food and other basic necessities, especially child-headed homes. Even orphanages and other children’s' homes are suffering due to a lack of funding. With this in mind, and not wanting to foster a welfare mentality, AFCA has started providing sustainable food solutions to these entities, including Family Harvest Village, a children's home in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

miwani kids1In 2016 I visited the village of Miwani, Kenya, where AFCA has various projects. My intention for this visit was to see how things are going, plan for the future, and teach some conservation farming techniques so that gardens would grow despite lack of rain. We worked hard and have a great time.  The older children from Hadrein Academy helped plant seeds and there was much laughter as we worked together. This was the first time that mulch was used on plants in their garden and we had no idea how things would turn out.

Something must have gone not-quite-right, as some of the plants didn’t grow as they should have, but others did.  I guess that is gardening though.  You don’t always know what you’ll get. But, the children are well and healthy as ever, thanks in part to that garden. Yesterday, I received a note from that project saying, “We want to thank you for the donations you’ve put towards the orphanage which ensure that the children have food to eat each and every day. Words are not enough to show our appreciation, as they are happy to eat good food and drink clean water. I must comment, the water filters have really helped us a lot! There are now no cases of stomachache and typhoid with the children since they started drinking the filtered water. Thank you!” It is so exciting to know that gifts like seeds, training, and water filters can make such a difference!

kids club 06As the executive director of an organization that helps children in Africa, I am always happy to have children in other parts of the world work side by side with us.  We’ve been so blessed to count on children of all ages as supporters of the work we do and today, they are on the forefront of my mind.

I look back to the first time we hosted children from New Covenant Christian School – we had 6-year old children riding around on tricycles in the warehouse, eager to be given a bandage or a bag of diapers from people sorting medical supplies and they’d zoom to place their item in the correct box.  They were quick and their memories baffled us all, as they were so fast and did such a great job!  Now, those children are 6th graders and they return to help us from year to year.  We so appreciate their hearts of wanting to help others.

Mawa is a 7 year-old girl living in Mombasa, Kenya.  She was born HIV+ and was taken to the Community Based Health Care (CBHC) facilities for care at a very young age.  mawa 1There, she has received life-saving medicine and her prognosis is great!  She attends school and is involved in youth programs at the Health Care clinic, where she is counseled on taking her medicine even if she is feeling well and where she gets a chance to play with other HIV+ children with no fear of stigma.

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1520 Greening Lane
Harrisburg, PA 17110

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