Lulu visited Cambodia with the Foundation to see for herself the good work being carried out as a result of the generous donations made to the Foundation.
They visited Phnom Pehn, Cambodia where stigma towards people with HIV is still strong and any health or pastoral support is still very limited. Many individuals lack the medicine and support to keep their condition from taking over their lives and are forced to leave their jobs, and in turn are forced out of their homes. Many people end up on the streets, living hand to mouth, surviving off rubbish dumps for food.
We wanted to help those people living with HIV, to give them a chance to help them and their families break the cycle of poverty controlling their lives. For this, we worked with Habitat for Humanity, a long standing charity that aims to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness, to develop a programme that would not only provide safe, clean homes families infected by HIV, but could become the link to other services – health, job skills – that would keep them well and stable.
Over 300 houses were built through the programme, alleviating so much suffering and struggle for families affected by HIV. As one of the children said, 'Now we have hope for the future.'
Lulu also visited a Foundation funded programme that offers psychological support to people living with HIV. Many single mothers struggle to support their families, financially and emotionally and children suffer because they haven't got an outlet for their emotions to help deal with the pressures of their daily lives. The support they receive acts as a backbone, for them to depend on so that they can progress with their lives and support their children in the way they would like.
In May 2013 the World Health Organisation announced that Cambodia is on track to reverse its HIV epidemic and may eliminate new infections by 2020. This is attributed to the endorsement of HIV programmes that focus on sex workers, pregnant mothers and by providing better access to antiretroviral medicine.
This target however is only possible with the continued investment in HIV prevention and care for the sick. You can read more here