Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day 2011

Every December 1, we commemorate World AIDS Day. We remember those who have died and we celebrate the advances that have been made in the care and support of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Our women will be participating in a march through part of Jos today along with hundreds of others.

Yesterday, we marked the event in two special ways.

Six of our women acted out a 10-minute drama during the Hillcrest chapel service. They showed the story of a young woman who was just diagnosed with HIV and how her auntie threw her out of the house because of it. As she was walking around looking for help, she encountered someone who was willing to house her. That person also introduced her to a ministry with a sewing program where she could receive help. After the drama, all of the women introduced themselves and told a little bit of their own stories.

The drama was based on an experience that some of them have had. Thankfully, there are some families that continue to show love and support in the midst of an HIV diagnosis.

Bayo and I traveled to the US Embassy in Abuja (capital) in order to take part in their commemoration of World AIDS Day. Esther David, one of the first women in the sewing program, also went along. We were able to share briefly about our work with women and children. Esther shared boldly, as she always does, about living with HIV, and her gratefulness to Mashiah Foundation for care and support and also to PEPFAR for providing her with free drugs for the past nine years.

PEPFAR stands for President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. It is the largest humanitarian relief ever given by the United States. HIV-infected Nigerians are incredibly grateful for this gift. PEPFAR works in 15 countries around the world.

Esther testified that had it not been for PEPFAR she may not have lived to raise her four children, ranging in age from 9-19.

The day would not be complete without selling our handicrafts made by the Women of Hope. It was a really great day in Abuja.

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