Today marks WORLD AIDS DAY, ‘an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. More than 35 million people have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history‘. An estimated 34 million people are believed to have HIV.
Though much has been done and many advances made, more people need to know the facts about HIV, prevention and protection. There is still a great deal of stigma and discrimination, increased awareness is needed, not just in developing countries, but also in developed countries, where complacency occurs. Zambia is one the countries that has been devastated by the pandemic, leaving 710,000 orphaned.
The Butterfly Tree supports orphans, providing improved healthcare and education in rural villages. Unlike townships these communities do not have access to media, books or classes, relying on health workers and non-government organisations to provide vital support. Every family in Zambia is effected or infected with the virus, treatment is free and readily available, however more needs to be done to protect the future generations.
In 2011 one of our volunteers, Mutsa Marau, initiated an HIV prevention programme through peer education, which is proving to be hugely successful. Having trained a group of school pupils, these brave young educators hold workshops in rural schools, delivering a powerful message. Today the group are organising activities in Mukuni Village, funded by The Butterfly Tree. This new generation can make the change!
The theme for WORLD AIDS DAY 2014 is: ‘Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation’
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