Before Amecet started in 2001, I was working with a project called FACE (Facing Aids with Compassion and Education). We travelled to the villages and we had a Mobile clinic for people suffering of HIV/Aids. There was counselling and small income generating projects. That was in the time that the stigma for people with HIV/Aids was still very big. I saw many grandmothers caring for their grandchildren, since their own children had died because of AIDS. I felt for those strong ladies, who had to dig in their gardens to provide for their grandchildren. I started a small project, looking for sponsors who wanted to help a grandmother. I got a small group of families who I could give a small support every month.
When I started Amecet, I still continued with this Grandma project, but when I got help from Simon and Elias (our social workers), we changed it in more practical help. We gave seeds, cassava cuttings and groundnuts to plant in their gardens and the crops would help the family to eat. When we got special gifts, we gave one time a goat, another year we could give a cow, we gave orange trees and we even one year a bull with a plough. It was such a good way to support those brave women and it helped the families a lot! We target the HIV+ children who had been with us in Amecet and were now cared for by their grandma's, and some very needy families.
here some pictures from the last years.....
Why now suddenly a blog about the grandma's? This week something happened that was really sad and is showed that sometimes when you give a blessing, it can turn into big trouble.... Simon, our social worker, got a phone call from a neighbor of one of our older children. John came in Amecet when he was a baby. His parents had both died of AIDS and after assessing, John was also HIV+ and he stayed quite a while in Amecet. It took a lot of talking and counselling with the family, to resettle him back with his relatives. Because he is HIV+, we keep checking on him and he was back in Amecet , some years later. We did provide the family with a goat (which multiplied..) and later also a cow, we gave them every year seeds and cassava cutting and groundnuts to plant in their gardens. John was every year in our Amun week and we helped him with school fees. John is 17 years now.
John received his first goat (2006)
We knew that it was not easy for John to live with his uncle, he had to do a lot of work at home and there was a time that the uncle didn't allow John to go to school. Simon went to talk with the uncle and agreed with him that John was going to a boarding school, because education is important. Because of Covid 19, the schools closed March 15th and up till now there is no school, so John is at home, grazing the animals and help around the home. Last week the neighbor called that John was thrown out of the house and lived in the bush. Simon went to see what was going on, John is known as a easy going boy, not making a lot of problems.. John also inherited the land of his father and also the cow we had given him (the grandma died). Simon discovered that John had build a small hut on his own land, which was destroyed by the wife of his uncle, all his property (mattress, mosquito net, school bag and books, clothes) were taken by the uncle he was also denied to take his ARV medicines and his cows (there were 3 now) were sold by the uncle. Simon involved the village chief, the other uncles and the Police. He traveled this week 3 times to the village to help settle everything. The uncle took them to the 3 people who bought a cow and two cows were recovered, the third cow was already sold again and the man has to pay John the money for that cow. The Police traveled with them, so there is an official case against the uncle. John is now living with another uncle and he got the rest of is property back, including his ARV medicines, which are important for his life.
We pray that John is safe now and I wanted to share this with you, to let you know that we not only care for babies, but that Amecet . But that we are still concern about the older children who once lived in Amecet. Sometimes we are called to help settle things in the families, I feel that Simon and Elias are trusted by the children and also by the families, so that they are in a good position to counsel and help. Pls. keep the children and also us in your prayers, especially in this Corona time, that we stay safe and healthy .
John is recovering his cows........