Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CHIPS (Children’s HIV Intervention Program in Swaziland)

This is the new ministry program that we will be beginning. We submitted a proposal for grant money for CHIPS to the Clay Pots Foundation. Pastor Ken Jefferson of Mbabane Chapel administers this fund which is dedicated for HIV initiatives here in Swaziland. He is very supportive of the program we have designed. He has approved our proposal and agreed to fund this program for 3 years (R350000 for year one and R250000 for each of the two subsequent years). This funding covers program costs only: none of it is for our personal expenses here. While in the beginning we will be concentrating on one area in eastern Swaziland, our hope is to expand the program to help kids in the all rural areas of Swaziland to get HIV testing and to access treatment. We are planning to hire and train someone from this area to be an HIV counselor, as well as the driver to take the children and their care giver to the clinic for testing and monthly follow up. The nearest clinic is 17km, and the nearest hospital is 48km. The cost of transport to get to a clinic or hospital for testing or treatment has always been a hurdle (more so in an impoverished community). We know this outreach will provide a major component in ensuring children in the rural areas of Swaziland can take advantage of the life saving health care that is available.
We will be working with Pastor La’Salette Duarte of the Christian Family Church in Swaziland and Lori Schweighardt of Live in Love International. We value their heart, vision, and energy.
I am very excited to start working on this initiative, but at the same time, sad to be leaving the children and teachers I’ve built a relationship with over the past three years.
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