Saturday, September 23, 2006

Safe Livelihoods for Older Orphans

Today I visited HAPCSO, one of the CAPAIDS partners that I will be working with. This organization is TREMENDOUS! Despite their tiny office, crammed full with people working hard, the group seems to have huge reach and giant goals. They work primarily as caregivers to people living with HIV/Aids. Sister Tibebe told me today that they have about 5000 patients, in all 10 subcities of Addis Ababa! She also explained that even after people go on Anti-Retrovirals (provided free in Ethiopia) there is still an important role for community workers, as many of the patients have difficulties taking the medicine regularly (precision is very important for ARVs to work). It seems like such a simple issue, but many people living with Aids here in Addis don’t have watches, let alone sufficient literacy to read time.

I will be working on a project focused on youth orphaned by Aids that now have to be caregivers and breadwinners for their younger siblings. The project aims to provide vocational or business training to these kids, and then help them to put this training into action. In the end we hope this will mean that the siblings can remain in school, rather than having to earn income at an early age as well.

It’s exciting to be working with two very different development NGOs- CPAR works in rural areas of Ethiopia, while CAPAIDS works with partners in the middle of Addis Ababa. I can’t wait until next week when I travel to the ‘field’ offices with both organizations and get to see the projects in action.

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