WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
The problem of the AIDS epidemic in Africa is well documented, yet infection levels remain very high, as does the stigma surrounding the disease. There are 1.3 million Kenyans currently living with HIV/AIDS, representing one of the largest proportions of the population found in any African nation. Despite the fact that it has been over 25 years since AIDS was first classified, it still carries a strong social stigma in Kenyan society. As a result, the disease is still one which is shrouded in superstition and consequently those living with HIV/AIDS are exposed to extreme hostility and discrimination.
However, there is hope, as the number of new infections begins to fall - from its peak a decade ago, when there were 200,000 new infections per year, to 90,000, less than half that number. These encouraging figures are the result of the painstaking education work being undertaken and the instigation of programmes such as this, which have significantly raised awareness and removed stigma, as well as improving the lives of those already living with the disease.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
The work on the project benefits from a varied schedule covering several aspects of the HIV programme. Volunteers are essential to this programme and are encouraged to help in a whole variety of ways, getting involved in all aspects of the work that is taking place at the time of their placement. You will be working alongside those suffering from the disease, providing a support system that is a vital lifeline for those affected and their families. As well as this, you may help run support groups and workshops that are of utmost importance in the fight to stem the spread of AIDS through the country, providing an educational service that will help break the pattern of infection. Each and every aspect of the programme is relevant to the fight against this vastly destructive disease.
Volunteers may also get the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to HIV programmes by helping with awareness raising and extending the existing support programmes to reach a wider community.
This project enables you to combine a visit to this most bewitching of African destinations with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the hardships and pressures faced by communities living with the threat of HIV/AIDS. This is a project for volunteers searching for a varied, challenging and intensely rewarding assignment.