Children of Hope: Nigeria 2008-2011
“When I was 14 years old, I still depended on my parents for food, shelter and clothing though it was very difficult for us to get money including my school fees. I decided to help them by using what I have to get what I want. In my school, there are many handsome boys from wealthy families that love dating girls, and for the fact I was so beautiful, they will intend to date me, and I will agree, for them to give me money for my parents’ care and for my school fees.”
but also logical. One day, her peer-educator, Marvellous Onwuasoanya, introduced her to a care center run by the USAID funded Children of Hope project. During five days of seminars, she learned about Abstinence, Being Faithful, and Correct Condom Usage (ABC.)
Stories like Nwaobia Oluchi’s, from Abia state Nigeria, are too common in many rural communities of Nigeria, where many adolescents lack sexual education, including safesex practices, and the risk of diseases like HIV/AIDs.
The Children of Hope project focuses on expanding access to HIV/AIDs services, promoting HIV/AIDs prevention programs, and providing comprehensive care for those victimized by the disease. Through these three means, the Children of Hope project seeks to improve the quality of life of children and families affected by the disease, and reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDs in local communities.
For Nwaobia, her actions seemed not only necessary,
The Project was proposed to last 3 years (Dec 2008 to
September 2011) and meets a target of assisting 12,000 OVCs and 4,000 widows and single parent caregivers and providing prevention interventions for 10,000 beneficiaries in six states in Nigeria. The project is being implemented by the European Cooperative for Rural Development (EUCORD), an international NGO based in Brussels, Belgium in equal partnership with ‘Widows and Orphans Empowerment Organization’ (WEWE) an indigenous NGO. The care provided to program participants is holistic in approach. Of course, health services are a primary focus of care centers, with over 5,000 children at the assistance of the program’s medical services. Nutritional education has been provided to 3,375 participants thus far,
Children receiving comprehensive care Medical: 3,359 Nutritional: 3,375 Educational / Vocational: 5,569 Psychosocial: 8,144 covering a wide range of subjects from the relevance of diet to HIV, to safe food and water preparation, to proper infant feeding techniques. Even educational and vocational training has been provided to 5,669 children, giving them not only means to support their families, but opening doors to countless opportunities in their future. Finally, psychological support, an often overlooked yet equally taxing component for those living with HIV/AIDs, has been provided to 8,144 people through sessions conducted by our volunteers. Almost 1,000 volunteers, care givers, and peer educators, have undergone a training program through the Children of Hope Project. Our peer-educator system allows the program to reach participants in a unique way. By providing a role-model who can be not only looked up to, but associated with, participants feel open about addressing these often taboo issues.
Nwaobia has decided that the best way for her to avoid the disease is abstinence. Two years later, she states â€œRight now, I want to let you know, that by the grace and power of God and by the help of my Aunty Sister Marvellous, and by the teachings that was taught on that seminar that was held in the Civic Hall of Umuikaa, that I am now a changed person.â€?
"Almost 1,000 volunteers, care givers, and peer educators, have undergone a training program through the Children of Hope Project"