HIV Food Programme replaces worry with hope
15 year old Sena is kind and thoughtful, full of potential and, just like every child, deserving of a bright future. But Sena is living with HIV, causing her to worry for the years to come.
When Sena was very young, both of her parents passed away due to illnesses related to AIDS. She had no one to care for her except for her older sister Caltu, who felt the burden of caring for Sena and providing nutritious food for her to stay healthy.
Sena began attending our Abdi Academy in Dembi Dollo where we welcomed her onto our HIV Food Programme. The programme is a unique plan for children and their family members living with HIV, incorporating nutritious school meals for the children, vital medication for those with HIV and monthly food packages for the whole family. When our children benefit from the programme, they can fight infection, cope with their medication and attend school regularly. Not only does it help kids and families stay healthy, but it also removes the stigma of living with the virus.
Today Sena is healthy thanks to this life-changing programme. She is smiling and enjoying school and tells us how the programme has taken away her worries:
“Before I was physically weak and also not happy enough at my life. Since starting the programme, my life changed wonderfully that I have no worries to attend my school in good health. Since getting the food, my CD4 count increased. And I myself also consider myself as girl who is living free from the virus. I have no worries of the disease.”
Stand by Me is grateful to provide children living with HIV, like Sena, with the same opportunities and the same chance to reach their full potential as all of our children. This care is not only transforming Sena’s life but also her sister’s too as her burden is lifted and she can be confident of her and Sena’s future:
“I am now very happy of seeing my sister healthy and happy enough in attending her education... You are my hope for now and future. Now I never worry of Sena's future.”