A massive thank you to the team at Steppes Travel who have offered to DOUBLE all donations raised - up to £1,000 - on Tuesday 1st Dec 2015. Donate here today and you'll be making twice the difference to the lives of young people like Lilian and Samantha.
Mother-of-one Lilian is HIV positive, and like many people living with HIV/AIDS she faces stigmatisation and little in the way of job prospects. Having no job is especially difficult at a critical time in her life when money is desperately needed to access medication and nutritious food.
Lilian’s parents tried to support her, but not having much money themselves meant there was never enough food in the home. Lilian and her little boy were hungry, and Lilian was getting ill very quickly. She was facing such discrimination from her local community she felt utterly helpless, even contemplating suicide.
Restless Development were working in Lilian’s area, supporting people living with HIV. Lilian and nine other people were invited to join training on how to live with HIV, before learning how to start and grow a business. Lilian’s group focused on how to work with hens, hoping to not only improve their own diets with the fresh eggs, but also to increase their income with those they could sell. The group received 99 hens with enough feed and antibiotics to last five months. Within two months the hens were laying enough eggs for the group to sell at local markets.
“Here at home we do not buy eggs for consumption. Before this project we used to get eggs from our indigenous hens but that was very seasonal and the number they lay is very small. Now we have access to these big eggs…and from what we are told by nurses at the clinic (it is) good for our health to eat at least one egg per week.”
Lilian and her group have learnt how to create an income and manage savings. Her status in the community has changed too, with villagers now understanding that people living with HIV/AIDS are able to work and create a livelihood for themselves if given the chance.
“The hens not only improved my financial stability but also my diet. In addition it has made the community appreciate and accept that despite being HIV positive we can still play a positive development role.”
This confident young school girl is Samantha, a member of another project in Zimbabwe which empowers orphans and vulnerable young people to get the education they deserve.
Samantha was brought up by her aunt, after her father sadly passed away leaving her mother with no income and unable to look after her. Samantha admires her aunt for teaching her the importance of working hard and getting an education. But as money was tight, school fees were a luxury they couldn’t always afford, so Samantha often missed out on classes in primary school.
Restless Development was working in Samantha’s district, training young people in essential business and entrepreneurial skills. Samantha joined a layer hens project, facilitated by our young volunteers living in her community.
“Even though we had little money it was possible to return to school because of knowing Restless Development. I help feeding the chickens, taking care of them and looking after them. Then we sell the eggs at the market.”
The money that Samantha’s group makes is essential to helping them to stay in school, paying for fees, stationery and uniforms.
To make double the difference to the lives of young people like Lilian and Samantha, click here to donate this #GivingTuesday.
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