Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lillian, CSS Member

HealthEd Connect’s Child Support Specialist Trainings empower women to address critical problems they see in their community.  Lillian, a young mother who attended CSS training in March 2012, used her recently honed courage and communication skills to save a young boy’s life.  The twelve year old boy shifted houses to stay with his auntie for the month during school holidays.  During this time, he was “blessed” by a pastor/prophet who gave instructions for the boy to stop taking his ARV [Anti-Retro Viral HIV] medication, saying that the prayer and holy water would heal the boy’s HIV symptoms.  Lillian, herself an auntie to Robson, saw his condition worsen and was immediately concerned.  “I went to my fellow CSS ladies and told them the story.  Together, we confronted this caretaker and encouraged the boy to begin taking his ARV medication again.  He was getting so thin and weak, but within two weeks his health had improved.”  Thanks to the keen eye and the courageous action of Lillian, Robson is healthy enough to start school for Term 2, and will be able to participate in the CSS Group activities once again. 
                                                       Reported by Lisa Ash

Friday, May 25, 2012

Teaching Mom to read!

“My father passed away and there are three of us girls still with our mom.  My younger sister is in Grade 1 here at Young Peacemakers School and I want her to complete school, so I make sure she comes to school and help her complete her homework at night. My mom can’t help because she doesn’t know how to read.  One day, when I can read well, I will teach my mom how to read English, too,” Esther says with a shy smile on her face.  “And when I finish school to become a nurse, then maybe I can buy a house for my mom.”  Esther began her studies at YPM in Grade 1 at age ten and now she has excelled into Grade 3.  Her example of punctuality and attendance makes her a model for her younger sisters and her fellow students.  “It’s so important to come to school every day so I can finish my studies and help my family.”  Esther is one YPM student who received an award at the close of school in March for her perfect attendance.  In order to contest absenteeism, teachers devised a plan to give school supplies as awards to children with perfect attendance at the end of the month.  Thank you to HEC donors who made this program a possibility by your donations to the Teacher Mentor Fund!
                                                                Reported by Lisa Ash

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Doctor in the Making!
Jofrees is excited that Term 2 has begun and school is back in session.  During the holidays, he and his brothers walk 7km every day to tend to their family’s gardens.  “I like school better than working in the fields because at school I learn to read.  When I learn to read well, then I can become a doctor.  That’s what I really want—to be a doctor at a hospital that cures HIV and AIDS.  Too many people have been killed and are suffering from this.”  Jofrees, is an AIDS orphan himself.  He is the second to last of 10 children living with his mother, who works as a maid in town.  He never thought he would get to finish his education when his family moved from Northwestern Province to Chipulukusu a few years ago, but thanks to the low school fees at Young Peacemakers School, he is in Grade 3 this year.  At 13 years old, Jofrees is well older than a typical third grader, but that hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for school and for following his dream of becoming a doctor.
Reported by Lisa Ash

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our Sweet Charity!

“I was so excited on my first day of school.  It was in January 2012 here at Young Peacemakers School.  I was just so happy to start school. If I finish studies, then I can become a nurse and help my mother support the rest of my family,” Charity beams.  Charity is 15 and entered Grade 3 as a first time student this year.  Before school became affordable, thanks to the low school fees at YPM, Charity spent her days as “mother” to her four younger siblings while her widowed mother worked as a maid.  “I still cook nshima, sweep, wash plates and take care of my younger sisters and brothers, but now I go to school too.  I want to learn to read so I can be a nurse when I grow up.”   Charity is also a member of the Child Support Specialist Groups [trained by HealthEd Connect], which offer emotional support sessions to orphans at YPM.  “In CSS Groups we learn to know each other, to love each other and to help each other.  I didn’t have any friends here at school because I was new, but now my favorite friend Esther is in the group with me.  It helps me to feel better.”                          Reported by Lisa Ash

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meet Florence and Titus!

Florence is very shy around adults, falling nearly silent when addressed.  Her quirky smile is difficult to incite, but when it flashes across her face, it melts your heart. Her cousin Titus, on the other hand, is well spoken and friendly, ready to share his cordial greeting and his captivating story.  They are both double orphans living with the same auntie caretaker.  “There were four sisters and now only one remains.  There are seven of us children and we all stay together in one household,” Titus explains.  Their auntie tries to pay the small school fees of 10,000kw per term ($2.00), but can’t always manage even this.  The kids are thankful they can attend school even if their fees aren’t paid yet, as this would not be the case at the government schools.  “I like school,” Florence says, “because I want to change my life.  My auntie doesn’t have permanent work, just piece work.  If I go to school then I can work when I grow up.  Then I can help my family.”    (Florence is 9 years old in Grade 2 and Titus is 11 years old in Grade 3.)

                                                                                                    Reported by Lisa Ash.
[This is the first of several stories about the kids directly benefitting from HealthEd Connect programs in Zambia.  As Lisa said when she sent them, "Keep your tissues handy!"  The good news is their lives are being changed dramatically thanks to supporters like you who fund the programs!]

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We're so excited!!  A HUGE milestone!  Our Blog page views just tipped over the 10,000 mark!!!  And that doesn't count any of you who receive the Blog automatically in your email. Okay, okay, I know.  If something on line goes viral the viewing reaches millions very quickly.  That's a bit of a stretch from our current 10,000 reader milestone.  But we're proud of our record!  You, the compassionate people reading our Blog are also doing something about the needs in the world.  You're donating so babies can have safe deliveries in the DR Congo, orphans can go to school in Zambia, malnourished babies can be fed in Malawi, and health care brought to the far reaches of the Himalayas in Nepal.   If you want to really help out, tell a friend about HealthEd Connect and encourage them to sign up for our Blog.  The impact may be modest in the overall scope of things, but you wouldn't consider it minor if you were the child that received a hot lunch at school and knew it would be your only food that day.  So keep on reading our Blog.  Hopefully soon we can report a 100,000 milestone!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

If every child in the world could have passionate supporters like the board members of HealthEd Connect we'd have a much-loved global family!  The HealthEd Connect Board of Directors met April 28 at the Graceland University Independence Campus.  With board members flying in from California, Wisconsin and Colorado to join those who live in the Kansas City Area, the visionary thinking was composed of a rich mix of opinions and ideas.  We are so pumped!!  Our new mantra is SUFI -- Scale up for Impact!  There is so much that can be done to reach out and help the children of the world if we can garner the resources so we're gearing up to do just that!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Nelly, Grade 1

Nelly loves skipping rope, playing jumping games, and the color red.  At first, she may appear shy, but when you give her a chance to play with her friends, she is a bundle of energy.  Nelly, a double orphan living with her auntie, grandma, and grandpa, participates in the Kasopme Child Support Specialist Group.  Her favorite part of the CSS group is being with her older sister, Rose, and the art projects she gets to do.  Nelly loves to draw people and animals.  She also feels like she can express her feelings when she is drawing.  She loves the group sessions!

Her teachers say she still crys a lot, however, and needs more time to heal from her grief.
- reported by Lisa Ash

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Little Nelly has no mother to wish Happy Mother's Day.   As a matter of fact, she has no father either -- she's an orphan.  According to her teacher Nelly is often sad and cries a lot.  Since attending the Child Support Groups in Chipulukusu where HealthEd Connect has trained local volunteer Child Support Specialists (CSS) to work with grieving orphans, she's doing better.  There's now an occasional smile.  There's a lot of grieving still to do but she's on her way.

To keep Nelly progressing and healing and at the same time honor your mother or other special women in your life, please take a moment to go to our website www.healthedconnect.org and make a donation to place your special person on the scrolling Honor List.  The supplies for our Child Support Groups are inexpensive but hugely important and special for the kids.  An occasional bar of soap to take home, construction paper to make a card, paper to form a booklet of memories of the Mom and Dad who have died, and every now and then a treat to eat.    Many of the orphans like Nelly call the CSS leader "Mama" or "Grandma."   They know unconditional love when they see it!