The pandemic resulting from the spread and acquisition of HIV/AIDS is a serious, deadly challenge facing the entire country of Uganda. Each year, thousands of Ugandans (adults and children) die from this acquired disease. Presently, IFRE works in collaboration with local organizations running various HIV/AIDS projects creating and promoting awareness while simultaneously providing comfort to HIV/AIDS-infected citizens. These projects also train local community workers to effectively address and educate others about HIV/AIDS-related issues.
These trained citizens then return to their villages of origin to train and educate other citizens – eventually launching their own HIV/AIDS awareness programs. Local program already emplaced by our partnering organizations include: stigma reduction, gender awareness, home visits, community counseling, as well as sensitization in public places (community centers and/or schools). This project's primary goal is to create hope among the sick – assuring them that they are able to live productive, meaningful lives (living with AIDS, not dying from AIDS) provided that they take proper care of their bodies.
- Role of the Volunteer:
Volunteers can participate in a number of community-based activities. Each day, volunteers meet at the projects' headquarters, take part in daily discussions, and develop daily strategies and follow-up on the projects' current plans. As the HIV/AIDS program's primary aim is the creation of public awareness, volunteers will travel from village-to-village – accompanying members of the local staff. Some activities include: providing comfort through counseling and/or spiritual guidance, distributing basic supplies (such as food, soap and clothes) administering medication to alleviate symptoms such coughing, diarrhea, as well as assisting in the building or repairing of affected clients' homes.
- Skills/Qualifications Needed:
No specific qualifications are required to join the HIV/AIDS project. However, volunteers interested in this particular project should have some interest in HIV/AIDS - related issues as well as have a passion for helping others and a willingness to share their time, energy and compassion with these in-need Ugandans.
IFRE makes all necessary arrangements regarding room, food and supervision from the beginning to the end of the program. While participating in the first week's language and cultural immersion classes, participants stay with a host family near the city. While volunteering, participants stay with either a host family or at the orphanage – in a separate room with a shared bathroom.
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