Volunteers will be a critical part of the Immunitiative Project
React to this- ‘HIV’, ‘AIDS’- Did you cringe, automatically tense up, or quickly turn and run in the opposite direction. Rest assured you would not have been the first to react this way to simply the words of this disease. This is as a result of the stigma and discrimination associated with the virus HIV/AIDS. Imagine the plight of our young who have unfortunately contracted this disease, they are faced with marginalization as a result of their disease; they are barely hanging on to the fringes of society as they suffer from poor nutrition, lack of schooling, trauma from witnessing the death of a family member, and non-supportive family and community environments.
Read this- AIDS is the second leading cause of death in children aged 1-4. According to the Ministry of Health 2006 HIV/AIDS Epidemic Update, there were 1,005 AIDS cases in the 0-19 age group. In 2006, a total of 73 new paediatric AIDS cases (children 0 to 9 years old) were reported compared to 78 paediatric AIDS cases in 2005 (National AIDS Committee Report, 2006). Based on these statistics it very important that we do not forget there are innocent children suffering in our world, as such spare a few minutes to enlighten your minds to real issues affecting our young- Remember this...
Restore, Empower, Serve and Train (REST), has become the tag line for the newest initiative ensuing from a meaningful partnership between Projects Abroad Jamaica and The Bridg IT Water Foundation (a non-profit organization founded by Wendy Tisdell) based in Australia. Overall the project has been dubbed ‘Immunitiative’ and seeks to construct a facility for 40 children aged 0-18 years old who are HIV positive and have no legal guardian or extended family members who are able to support them, as well as children who have been orphaned as a result of HIV related circumstances. The project will be based in Mandeville, Manchester; currently a centre of this nature does not exist in Manchester or the southern region of the island project. Projects Abroad Jamaica will be engaging local and international sponsors to support Immunitiative thereby guaranteeing sustainability.
The project is the Brain Child of The Bridg IT Water Foundation creator Wendy and her husband Mark Tisdell. The proposed plan is to have the BridgIT Water Foundation facilitate the engineering and construction of the facility and all other structural amenities. The site of the orphanage is yet to be decided, however meetings have been held with and letters sent to various organizations concerning donation of 3-5 acres of land for this purpose. These organizations have demonstrated that they are willing to consider a possible donation to this effort and talks have commenced to decide on the direction, the level of involvement and specific allocation necessary for the facility. The ideal area would be one that is reasonably flat in a safe, clean area within close proximity to tertiary medical care. It should have sufficient space to appropriately accommodate the structure and other amenities outlined with additional room for physical activity and possible expansion.
The partnership is intended to create social good and bring about meaningful change in the lives of these children. Cases will be referred to the facility through the assistance of the Jamaica AIDS Support, the Child Development Agency and the Ministry of Health.
It is also important to note that the Projects Abroad Jamaica volunteers will play a pivotal role on the Immunitiative project. They will be able to volunteer at the residence assisting in the various areas of the institution such as to provide teaching, medical assistance or simply to just interact with the children, make them feel loved and appreciated - part of the care component. Basically the overall vision of the Projects Abroad Jamaica’s vision for the volunteers’ role is to provide additional human resource to support the Immunitiative project.
Below is the acronym REST and its meaning.
· Restore the milieu of familial bond in a safe stimulating environment for children living with HIV/AIDS where they will be free from stigmatization and ridicule.
· Empower each child to become self-sufficient with marketable skills in a competitive global village through traditional education and skills training.
· Serve each child with unequivocal love and care, being conscientious of their inherent worth and dignity as unique individuals and members of the human race.
· Train each child to manage their disease astutely and cope with the diverse challenges associated with it.
Stay tuned to upcoming editions of “Jamrock” for all the Immunitiative updates
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