The future is always bright with a positive heart and mindset

Its no secret the fear that MDR-TB and HIV/AIDS is instilling in the lives of community members within poverty stricken areas in the eastern cape..the effects of this fear find those infected being stigmatized and discriminated upon by the very people that they once shared smiles and laughs with..

Pamela was infected with MDR-TB believed to have contracted it from her parents..at the time that her parents were ill, she believed she was taking pills for asthma…upon finding out her true diagnosis and seeing her parents on deaths door, she begun loosing weight and was shunned by her friends who assumed she was infected with HIV/AIDS…unfortunately Pamela lost both her parents..

Through the support of Red Cross and her grandmother, she regained her confidence and worked hard towards achieving a better outcome than her parents.

Today she is well, cured and full of life..i wish you well in your final matric year…โ˜บ

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International volunteer day

When celebrating #internationalvolunteerday one can’t help but look back to when their individual journeys began with the organization..it usually begins with a deep yearning to #domore and #bemore for the vulnerable communities…when you volunteer, you make connections and connect with the community. Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are not only part of the problem but also the solution, actively being in a process that they believe in..which through their actions and involvement, benefit not only others but also themselves… 

I take my hat off to all volunteers who work tirelessly, selflessly; being beacons of light to people in need…this day is for you.. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

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16 days of activisim

From the 25th November to the 10th December the world wide 16 days of activisim campaign is held to oppose violence against women and children. With the aim of raising awareness on the negative impact that violence and abuse have on women and children.

One in every three young South Africans has experienced some form of sexual abuse in their lives with it being reported that the mean age at which girls are being subjected to abuse was 14.

In the eastern cape primary schools were targeted were 20 girls of menstruation age 11-12 years were selected. Education on sexual gender based violence understanding ones body and the menstrual cycle in the form of closed informal discussion.

The young girls where then issued with sanitary towels and mini hygiene kits.

“Its nice when you have someone to talk to as sometimes we experience things but do not know whom to report to. Thank you for educating us on areas where we shouldn’t be touched and for making us feel valued” said one of the students..

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End of USAID funding: spirit of volunteerism still spears on

The 30th of September 2017 marked the official end of the USAID funded TB project….activities where held throughout implementation sites as closure for community care givers and beneficiaries. 

“What Red Cross has done for us cannot go unnoticed, my sister was diagnosed with MDR-TB and shortly after, her Red Cross care giver ‘bele’ came to educate us and screen and test for TB…to my dissatisfaction, my daughter of 3years was found positive for MDR-TB…its not easy seeing your child have to endure daily injections and then have to see them take so many pills in a day..but ‘bele’ would find ways to make it all durable…today my daughter has completed her treatment and is on the 6 months coughing phase..this being all possible with Red Cross’s support”..

“We came to Red Cross not for the money, but because we wanted to help and change the situation in our communities…รฒne cannot just stop caring and even though we will not be getting allowances, I personally will still continue supporting those that need my help…says gonstana a Red Cross community care giver”…

It was quite emotional attending the events and hearing positive and enlightening personal testimonies from clients that we are supporting whom have suffered immensely due to their TB status. For a disease that is curable, the stigma and discrimination that surrounds it is unbelievable…But guided by our fundamental principles and with the amount of training and experience we have, we will continue to help those who cannot help themselves, as alil love shared with one, will eventually be felt and shared by others…

Always needed, always there ๐Ÿ˜Š

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HIV: my skeleton in the cupboard

It’s only when you truly support beneficiaries that are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS is when you get to fully understand the reason behind their lack of disclosure and fears…

When I first met ‘Sarah’ she had a CD4 count of less than 100 and was barely able to care for herself and her grandchild.. ‘for many years HIV was the dark skeleton that I didn’t want to reveal for fear of being shunned by my family and the more I tried to hide it, the more my health became worse..Red Cross taught me not to fear it and encouraged me to reveal to those who truly loved and cared for me..today my family knows my status and am doing much better with my CD4 now at 450..’ 

Other families are not so fortunate as sarah, with mothers fearing HIV and the stigma associated with it, try to lead ‘normal’ lives, neglecting their treatment and health and giving birth to HIV positive babies… 

‘I know my mum and sisters are not well so I try to do my best and care for them’.. says ‘peter’ (not real name) aged 12…i wish I could understand what was hurting them and make it go away…

Peter’s family has recently been registered under the Red Cross project and will be receiving the care and support needed.

Keeping ones status in the closet, tends to do more damage than good to not only the infected but those living with them…with continued awareness and a reduction in the associated stigma and discrimination, more people will be able to disclose to those they love..and with disclosure comes an understanding and ownership of their illness putting those they love and care for at less risk of also becoming infected…

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Using heritage in addressing #HIV preventionย 

As I walked into the chiefs meeting place, the community care givers immediately yanked me into a wooden shed and dressed me up into a #sotho cultural attire… as a sign of respect, no woman is allowed into the chiefs meeting place in jeans…

We were then ushered into the hall by the inkciyo ‘virgingirls’…. which then lead to a day being entertained by orphaned and vulnerable children belonging to the Red Cross OVC project…

Amazing how the inkciyo take pride in being virgins and danced and sang songs about #abstainence, #selfesteem and encouraging other young girls to value themselves and their bodies…

Other OVC through cultural dance, song and dramas portraying the risks they encounter in their communities calling upon the elders to not victimize them, but rather guide them into making sound sexual decisions and protecting them from sexual predators..

Lovely seeing the queen of the maluti villages we support again who also together with her herdsmen spoke on their commitment to be guides for the OVC….

“Issues that we are faced with cannot be tackled solemnly but together as a collective we are able to address the various challenges faced by our youth and form safe activities to keep them from being idle” says the queen who thanked the Red Cross for our interventions in addressing #HIV in her villages…

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Coaching Clinic for youth

South African Red Cross Society partnered and became the official and first of its kind in South Africa, CSI partner to Chippa United football club, which is the football club that holds the heart of the eastern cape province….

The two entities teamed up to strengthen activities addressing the various social ills that the youth of today face with more emphasis on tuberculosis which is claiming more lives for a disease that is curable…

Today we turned to Mboniselo primary school, a government school in Port Elizabeth that is surrounded by various challenges to mention a few, substance abuse, HIV, crime and TB that directly have an impact on the learners.. Chippa United FC showed it’s humility and ball skills by providing a coaching clinic for 100 grade seven learners aged 13 and 14.

“It’s important to know what TB is and to quickly go get tested..after all it is curable” said one of the chippa players who played diligently with the learners…

Education does not have to be in a classroom but can be made fun and that’s what this coaching clinic brought..

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