HIV and AIDS Prevention
The Butterfly Tree has initiated HIV and AIDS Prevention projects to fight the pandemic. A feeding program to help prevent mother to child transmission replacing breast milk with formula, the first to be initiated in Zambia – all participating infants are free of HIV.
AIDS orphans – N’gandu Basic School
Our other projects include funding for voluntary testing and counselling, an HIV/AIDS support group carries this vital work out through workshops. Peer education for HIV/AIDS prevention is our latest concept. We have sponsored some 500 AIDS orphans in education, empowering them with knowledge to avoid the spread of HIV. Funding for treatment has been provided for patients suffering from this debilitating disease.
Some of the volunteers from the HIV and AIDS Support Group – Mukuni Village
The HIV/AIDS support group, made up entirely of volunteers, work tirelessly to sensitise the communities, help to remove the stigma and offer voluntary testing and counselling. The Butterfly Tree helps to fund these projects in order to reduce the number of new cases. In Zambia one in six adults have HIV and in the Livingstone area, 27% of the population are living with HIV. There are also many children who have been tested positive. Every family is infected or affected by this devastating disease. Our aim is to spread awareness, particularly targeting school children, who can make the change.
Latest Happenings WITH OUR HIV and AIDS Prevention Project
Education is the key
Virtually all the work of The Butterfly Tree revolves around the HIV and AIDS orphans. At Mukuni Village almost 50% of the school children have lost one or more parent putting a huge burden on elderly grandparents and guardians and its the same story in every village. We believe that the only way to make the change is to target the younger generation and teach them all about HIV and AIDS prevention. Last year we were delighted to welcome Mutsa Marau to our team as a volunteer from London. Mutsa has a BA in Anthropoly and Socialogy, a MBA in International Business Practice and is a trained youth worker. She has written her own HIV and AIDS prevention program to train peer educators amongst school children, for the past four and a half months has worked with pupils at Mukuni.
Now these dedicated young people are ready to ‘spread the word’ and are reaching out to other rural schools. They are educating their peers on the dangers of HIV, how to prevent it, the importance of voluntary testing and how to live with it if you are unfortunate to have been born with the virus. Other issues include teenage pregnancy and other sexually transmitted diseases and surrounding issues. With our support their aim is to reach out to all the schools we are involved with and beyond. Several of these educators are from The Butterfly Tree orphan sponsorship program and it is wonderful to see the progress they have made as individuals and a group.
Another volunteer, Brendan Poynton, is currently raising funds to build a Music Centre at Mukuni. This will give these vulnerable HIV and AIDS orphans an opportunity to hold concerts and social activities to raise funds and awareness to help the fight against this devastating disease. Through several fundraising events Brendan has almost reached his target and has
now organised a charity auction, through MUSIC EARTH RISE, to complete his task. There are some amazing lots including a guitar signed by Eric Clapton and a print signed by Ronnie Wood. If you would like to bid for any of the items please use the following click on Music Earth Rise Auction.
The Butterfly Tree HIV and AIDS Prevention
Today marks World AIDS Day. Over 30 million people have died from AIDS related causes. An estimated 33 million are living with HIV. 2.9 million of these are children. Around 68% of from sub-Sahara Africa. Zambia has the seventh highest prevalence in the world. Today gives the opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV and to commemorate the people who have died from this devastating disease.
For the past five years The Butterfly Tree funds several HIV projects in the Mukuni Chiefdom of Zambia. These include orphan sponsorship, educational workshops and voluntary testing, treatment for the sick and an under-fives’ feeding programme to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child. Formula is provided to replace breast milk in HIV positive mothers. Since its conception in 2007 every infant accepted on our program has been tested negative. Due to high costs of powdered milk we have initiated a goats’ milk project to supplement the programme, with the aim of making it sustainable.
This year we have intoduced a new project thanks to Mutsa Marau, a young volunteer from London, who at our own cost, has been working in Mukuni Village for the past three months. Her HIV prevention programme to train peer educators amongst the school pupils has been a huge success. Having spent her time training these young educators, assisted by Margaret Mulenga, they are now targeting outreach villages to ‘spread the word’. Today to mark the occassion 15 members, between the ages of 14 and 20 years, will be performing at the Chief ‘s Palace as part of Mukuni Villages’ activities to mark World AIDS Day. The groups performance will include poetry reading along with the presentation of art pieces explaining how every one of them can help the prevalance of HIV in their community get to zero.
From the 5th – 9th December all donations to The Butterfly Tree have a chance to be doubled if made through our partners, the Big Give, during their Christmas Challenge week. To participate and help to give these young AIDS orphans a chance please donate to our programme through the Big Give website.
Sponsor an orphan in Zambia
Peter Liyungu was the first orphan to be accepted on The Butterfly Tree orphan sponsorship program, some five years ago, when we first started operating in Mukuni Village back in 2006. At the time despite being very intelligent, Peter had lost interest in his education after loosing both parents and having no funds to continue. A sponsor was sought and this transformed his life; as there was no high school at Mukuni Peter wanted to go to boarding school and subsequently attended Zimba High. We are also sponsoring his younger brother Mishek.
I am delighted to say that after four years Peter has completed grade twelve and did exceedingly well in his exams. In his own words Peter wished to thank his sponsors.
‘It is my pleasure to show my gratitude and say thank you for opening up my life to a dream come true. You are my father and my mother who would have done the same if they were alive. It takes a strong sole to take up the work of someone else.
I must let you know that I have made it through my senior secondary with 16 points which gives me the opportunity to apply for university. It is because of you that I have achieved this, your contribution to my education and my life in all was not in vain and once more thank you for making my dream come true.’
To date The Butterfly Tree has sponsored over 400 idividual orphans in addition to providing nutritional feeding programs, classrooms, teachers’ houses and bore holes holes. Our healthcare projects including HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention, boosted by a recent donation from Viking River Cruises, are all for the benefit of these vulnerable children. One of the great things about working in these rural communities is that when we can assist with the orphans’ education, there is always someone who will offer to be a guardian, whether it be a family member, a friend or even a teacher. This is by far more preferable than having to leave their village and be placed in an orphange in town.
There are over 700,000 orphans in Zambia alone and they desperately need your support. Education is the only way they can get out of the cycle of poverty to enable them to better their situation. For as little as £110 per annum or just £10 per month a child’s life can be transformed. The money is used to pay for school and exam fees, books, shoes, uniform and school bag. In addition to this the children receive a daily nutritional meal, such as the one at Mukuni, sponsored by Cunninghams. The Butterfly Tree provides educational workshops, using interactive DVD’s donated by TME, teaching the pupils about the dangers of HIV/AIDS, malaria, teenage pregnancy, drugs and alcohol.
Listen to the orphans singing with the Mukuni Basic Choir on Youtube
Follow our progress on Facebook
I have many stories to tell from my recent trip to Zambia, no doubt the one which many of our supporters have been waiting to hear is the plight of the twin baby boys, whose mother died in childbirth with their triplet sister. For the past five months The Butterfly Tree has provided support for Elvis and Vincent after hearing about their premature birth and the loss of their mother. Each weighing barely three pounds (1.3 kgs) the twins were discharged from Livingstone in late November to be cared for by their grandmother in the remote village of Kamwi.
With no available money the grandmother was struggling to cope, relying solely on gifts from well wishes. After hearing that the twins would not survive without powdered milk The Butterfly Tree stepped in. Three and a half tins of formula are consumed a week by these hungry boys. At seven pounds ($11) per tin this was an impossibility for most Zambians with an income let alone someone from one of the poorest villages on the planet.
I was moved to tears when I returned to Kamwi and saw two plump, healthy and happy babies. The grandmother, with the help of her sister, has taken great care of them and the staff at Mukuni clinic informed me that apart from a common cold they had rarely been sick. They have had two tests for HIV, both were clear and need only one more which we pray will be negative. Besides milk we have provided clothing, equipment and healthcare. Funding these helpless infants shows that it is vital to continue our support to improve the lives of these vulnerable people.
HIV and AIDS in Zambia
The latest figures show that there are over 33 million people living with HIV and over half of them will die of AIDS before they are 35 years of age. A staggering 2.3 million children under 15 are infected. Although advances in treatment and HIV and AIDS Prevention have been made I have seen first-hand the destruction caused in Zambia, where every family, if not infected, is affected in some way. It is one the worst nations with one in six adults being HIV positive. There are 33,000 children infected with HIV and over 700,000 are orphaned as a result of the HIV and AIDS in Zambia pandemic.
World Aids Day: An HIV positive orphan sponsored by The Butterfly Tree
HIV and AIDS education is the key, particularly in developing countries. Providing educational workshops, helping to remove the stigma and voluntary testing is crucial. Unlike malaria HIV is slow to develop, therefore many do not take it seriously. Women are four times more likely to be infected then men, not only putting themselves at risk but also their unborm babies. For the past four years The Butterfly Tree has successfully run an under-fives feeding program in Zambia for HIV positvie mothers. This gives them the opportunity to replace breast milk with formula to prevent mother to child transmission of the virus. This method has proved to be very effective as all the children on this program since 2007 have been tested free of HIV. It also encourages more women to come forward and be tested.
Children free of HIV on the under-fives feeding program
In the UK there are over 90,000 reported cases of HIV, many more are undiagnosed. Understanding the facts of HIV, removing the stigma and knowing your status are essential motives to not only protecting your own health but to the well-being of those close to you. Today in recognition of World Aids Day our charity is funding a workshop in Mukuni Village.