Accomodation facilities at SOS Emergency Aid Programme in Gode, Ethiopia…
I've been finding out about the Emergency Aid Programme and new SOS Children's Village for the South of Ethiopia: SOS Children's Villages is launching an emergency medical aid programme for children at risk in the drought-stricken region of Ogaden.
Accomodation facilities at the SOS Emergency Aid Programme in Gode, Ethiopia
I've been finding out about the SOS Emergency Aid Programme and new SOS Children's Village for the South of Ethiopia. This is a report from the time the programme was set up and shows the concerns and considerations of the staff involved:
SOS Children's Villages is launching an emergency medical aid programme for children at risk in the drought-stricken region of Ogaden. Preparatory measures are also being taken for the construction of an urgently needed SOS Children's Village in Gode.
A local assessment of the situation in Ethiopia conducted by SOS Children's Village staff showed that relief aid is of vital importance for large sectors of the population in the remote rural areas, especially in Ogaden Province in the southeast of the country where the famine is most acute.
Following the emergency aid programmes operated in 1974 and 1985, SOS Children's Villages is therefore moving in to help people in need for a third time in Ethiopia. With the drought now into its third year, Ethiopia's grain supplies are dwindling and an estimated eight million people are in danger of starvation on the Horn of Africa, where relief aid often arrives when it is already too late. In the city centre of Gode (also known as Tekla Meka) an emergency medical aid programme will soon be operational in a rented building where the basic equipment has already been purchased. In the framework of the six-month relief aid project, a doctor and two nurses will provide treatment for about a hundred children a day.
In Mogadishu a shipment of food and medicines is being prepared in collaboration with a Catholic nun and is expected to arrive in Gode shortly. In addition to this temporary emergency aid programme, preparations have begun for the construction of an SOS Children's Village with its own medical centre. Negotiations have been concluded for the purchase of a plot of land on the banks of the Wabi Shebelle about two kilometres from the centre of Gode. In the initial phase of construction, which is due to start in September, the first six family houses and the medical centre will be built. In a second development stage, there are plans to construct another six family houses, an SOS nursery school and a primary and secondary school.
The neighbourhood of a boy who is helped by the HIVAIDS prevention programme, South Africa.
"Being HIV positive and living a positive life go hand in hand," says lay-counsellor Zanana at the HIV/AIDS Resource Centre in Umtata.
HIV Positive People Find Acceptance at the HIV/AIDS Resource Centre in Umtata
Zanana may only be 26 years old but already she has learnt more about life than some people much older. Zanana is HIV positive, out of work, and shunned by ignorant people but she is taking life by the horns and living positively. She has volunteered as a lay-counsellor at the HIV/AIDS Resource Centre, which operates from the SOS Children's Village Umtata.
Zanana holds support group meetings for about 32 people from the Umtata community every week for two to three hours. HIV positive people come together in an environment of acceptance and discuss their problems, challenges and fears. "When I was diagnosed at the clinic I didn't know what to do or what it was all about. I didn't believe I was HIV positive because I didn't feel sick but now I know you can be healthy and still have the disease," said one member. The group meetings are a place where members are advised on issues such as grant applications. "Some people can wait up to two years before they even see any money from their applications," said Zanana. Other issues discussed in the meetings are: how to plant and grow vegetables for increased nutrition; how to bring up children and help them deal with the grief of perhaps losing a parent; ways to generate income, such as beadwork and sewing; the HIV sickness in the body; dealing with and attending funerals; stress; living a positive life; and the feelings and emotions associated with being an outcast in your own community or family. "When my family found out I was HIV positive they bought me my own spoon and dish so that my things would not mix with theirs. I am now stigmatised and isolated, together with my eight-year-old daughter." "My family is only interested in me when I have money otherwise they don't want me," said members of the group. "Because of this stigmatisation some of the members do not want to disclose their status to their families. The group can help them with this. We tell them that no one is alone. We are all HIV positive so we help each other deal with that," said Zanana.
Some of the members of the group live many kilometres from the village but they try not to miss a meeting. "Transport for some of our members is a problem. Sometimes they will walk for an hour or more just to get to the meeting," said Zanana. The centre has also put together a drama group who act out a play on HIV/AIDS but as there is often no transport to go out into the community the group is under utilised. Zanana, together with the "SOS nurse" Olive, does however often go out and do home visits. They visit sick members at their home and wash and feed them.
As part of her volunteer work Zanana also conducts HIV/AIDS education/information sessions with SOS children, youth, mothers, teachers, and goes to hospital and clinics where she shares her positive message.