Across the world today people are uniting in the fight against HIV. We wanted to take this opportunity on World Aids Day to share success stories, straight from the mouths of our incredible Tearfund ICS partner in South Africa, Zoe-Life.
South Africa has the biggest paediatric HIV pandemic in the world. An estimated 2 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS related illnesses. Even more are living with terminally ill parents.
Unfortunately, although HIV treatment has become a global health priority in recent years, children affected by the virus have been largely overlooked.
It was against this backdrop that we, the Zoё-Life team, developed KidzAlive, a training programme aimed at increasing HIV testing, treatment, prevention and the long-term wellness of children living with HIV.
And this is where we introduce our favourite character Sibusiso, a frog living with HIV. The story of Sibusiso teaches children about HIV and how to take ownership of their health care in a positive and fun way.
We have thousands of success stories but we want to tell you this one, about Sibusiso, our brave little frog, who helped to change the life of one boy, Lungile.
Lungile & Sibusiso
Lungile was a 15 year old AIDS orphan when he heard the story of Sibusiso, the frog. Lungile had lived his whole life without knowing he was living with HIV or why he had to take medicine every day. He grew up poor, without love and support. He was angry. He couldn’t understand why his parents had left him and why he was always sick.
He dropped out of school and left home. One day at the local clinic, Lungile was spotted by a KidzAlive counsellor. Although he was older than most of the other children, the counsellor felt Lungile needed to hear Sibusiso’s story. As he listened, things suddenly made sense to him and he started to cry. Not only did he learn about what it meant to be living with HIV but he finally found acceptance and support.
From being an aggressive teenager with little hope, Lungile learnt to make positive life choices and now volunteers at his local clinic.
Lungile is one of 5,000 orphans and vulnerable children that we have managed to impact in Kwa-Zulu Natal. We believe that Lungile, Sibusiso and the KidzAlive programme are success stories worth sharing today, on World’s Aids Day – stories which we hope will continue to unfold as we fight the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS in our country, our continent and in our world.
Zoё-Life is a non profit organisation located in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. At the heart of our organisation is a desire to bring transformation to children, vulnerable families and communities that have been affected by disease, poverty and injustice. We are motivated by a love for people, and a stubborn belief that all individuals should have access to more than a minimum quality of life. Over the years, Zoё-Life has created a range of programmes and training tools, working in partnership with local organisations, churches, civil society and government. Visit their website for more information.