Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day, a day aside to build awareness and raise funds for care and cures.
AIDS devastates people all around the world. According to the World Health Organization, greater than 70 million people have been infected with HIV and about 35 million people have died of HIV. Globally, 36.7 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2016 and 84,000+ of those were in Malawi.
Just like with hunger, this issue is NOT faceless. This is something causing immense struggle for our community in Malawi BUT we have HOPE!
At the Grace Center, we have an AIDS support group who meets on our campus. They do not let their diagnosis determine their outlook and are some of the most positive and giving individuals on our campus! They give more back in the fields than any other group and make a direct impact for good! They find support in the time together, food they receive, power of prayer, and giving back; what an example for our children to see!
Additionally, we have several children in our care at Patricia's Home and Timothy's Home who are HIV positive. Through consistent medical care and diligent attention to their nutrition and medication our children, despite their diagnosis, are joining many HIV+ people around the world with average life expectancies compared to their peers! This is HUGE! Jesus came for us to have life and have it abundantly and we are thrilled to see the quality of life increasing for our HIV+ children!
Nation-wide there is estimated to be 530,000 orphans in Malawi as a result of AIDS.
One of our own children was even HEALED of HIV! Eunice and Kumbukani's mother was HIV+ and at birth both Eunice and Kumbukani were HIV+ as well. After coming to our campus, they were prayed over and Eunice was completely healed of HIV! Kumbukani's transformation has been one of spirit even though he lives with HIV, his mind and soul have been renewed and his attitude is the proof. Again, see the HOPE their lives portray?
We want this hope to be the norm and not the fear and pain which are associated with hospital care and testing in Malawi. Sadly, countless women are truly afraid of hospital care due to the poor treatment and lack of respect and dignity given to them during labor and delivery. As a result, many give birth at home and their children become HIV+ when medical care could have prevented this tragedy.
When surveyed this summer here is what a woman in our community in Malawi had to say:
“Because of the great number of people who are treated so abusively at clinics, lots of women deliver their babies at home. They don’t want to face the embarrassment and poor treatment at the clinic. But with delivering at home you don’t get your blood tested and you don’t prevent diseases from passing to your child. If you need extra help with the delivery, it’s not available.”
We will NOT stand for this. The hope that we have tells us that settling for care that is less than available, adequate, and appropriate for our people is NOT the way! We are excited to address this deep need with our maternity center! Follow the link below and read more about your role in making this happen today!
Meeting and loving people with AIDS for the first time is one of the things our team members have to process and start to understand in their hearts. God sees the hurting and struggles and shares unending love and that reality is life changing for those experiencing this type of pain for the first time.