Guardians of Hope (GOH), is CBM’s strategic response to the global HIV and AIDS pandemic. HIV targets people during their most productive years, making economic progress in many developing countries an even greater challenge. People with AIDS do not suffer alone – the disease also impacts their families and communities.
Because it cuts down adults in the prime of their lives, it leaves their children orphaned and vulnerable. Stigma remains one of the largest obstacles in the fight against AIDS, as does the lack of access to medical care and treatment. AIDS-affected families often struggle with hunger, water scarcity and reduced ability to generate income.
Children and youth suffer silently – many are left orphaned. Some are unable to attend school. It is easy for them to feel hopeless about their future. The provision of simple items such as school supplies, uniforms and fees, and counselling contributes to ameliorating the effect that living in a household affected by AIDS has on a child’s future.
Those who have benefitted from the GOH program often become advocates for those living with HIV and AIDS. Through the power of their testimony, they are able to help others find new hope and live healthier lives with the support of God’s compassionate community.
The Guardians of Hope program works with HIV-affected people in Rwanda, Kenya and India. It focuses on four priority areas:
- Church based support groups for people living with AIDS
- Prevention activities through schools and the local community
- AIDS-related development projects
- Resources to assist communities as they respond to the nancial, psycho-social and spiritual needs of orphans
How the Project Works
The church works with the community to create a safe place for HIV-affected individuals and families to meet and share without fear. These self-help groups assist each other spiritually, emotionally and with psycho-social support. They also provide practical care for one another. So often, it is the poor and marginalized who are the most affected by AIDS. With little income to begin with, AIDS increases the difficulty in finding or maintaining work. Trained staff and volunteers work with our partners to offer microcredit loans, vocational training, conservation farming techniques and in some cases, livestock, to help with income generation.
Education facilitates empowerment on multiple levels when it comes to disease prevention and health management. By ensuring the population is informed through workshops and seminars, fear decreases and compassion increases. Training on nutrition, home care and basic medication are some of the practical forms of assistance provided.