How to Keep a Child Alive- an HIV Charity
What is HIV?
HIV is an acronym for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which is a virus that weakens the immune system. If HIV is not treated with the correct medication or if the person becomes malnourished or unhealthy in other aspects, then it can mutate into AIDS. AIDS is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Because a person can live for many years without experiencing symptoms of HIV or developing AIDS, the virus can spread very quickly. Also in communities such as south Africa, where there are more than fifty reported rapes a day, the virus spreads at an alarming rate.
What is Keep a Child Alive?
Keep a Child Alive is a US based charity that focuses on care and treatment of children affected by HIV or AIDS. They are a Better Business Bureau accredited charity as well as have earned Charity Navigator's Four Star Award for the fourth year in a row. In the year of 2010, 87% of their revenue goes directly to their programs, with 7% going back into fundraising, and 6% going to management funds.
The organization began in 2002, with a clinic in Mombasa, Kenya. After Leigh Blake saw the need for medication and healthy living programs for the AIDS affected communities in Africa, she began to spear head an initiative to save the lives of children in these affected areas.
Why AIDs Work is Important
Africa has the majority of the HIV/AIDS affected people worldwide, however people in African countries tend to have less of a social or financial chance to receive needed medication. What tends to be the most disturbing symptom of an AIDS affected community is the number of orphaned children and the number of children who inherited AIDS from their parents. There are 16.6 million children worldwide that have been orphaned by AIDS, and 15 million of those children live in Africa.
AIDS Research has not found a cure for this virus yet, however there are medication to help control the symptoms. Also, a real concern in countries with high rates of AIDS affected people, but low economic status, is that the affected people are normally not eating nutritious meals. A healthy diet and lifestyle can help to control the symptoms of AIDS.
Because lifestyle can be as important as medication, Keep a Child Alive focuses not solely on medication, but also on making sure that people affected with HIV or AIDS have proper access to clean water, nutritious food, education, and shelter.
Keep a Child Alive's Programs
Keep a Child Alive focuses on four main goals: treatment, care, orphans, and awareness of HIV/AIDS. They work to improve the conditions in Kenya, India, South Africa, Uganda and Rwanda with these goals in mind.
Keep a Child Alive strives to help these children as well as the extended family who usually take the responsibility of raising the children. They have formed health clinics and orphanages across the many areas of their work. The orphanages house the children, as well as make sure they receive protection and healthy meals.
Keep a Child Alive has a few different campaigns going right now. The most interesting is their Buy Life campaign. A supporter buys a t-shirt with the Buy Life logo and bar code on it, and anyone with a smart phone then scans the bar code on the shirt to receive information about the charity, and a simple page to donate to charity. There are quite a few celebrities that are endorsing this campaign including: Alicia Keys, Jay Sean, Katie Holmes, Kim Kardashian, Usher and other celebrities as well.
This charity has also found ways to keep itself in the news through celebrity endorsement. They released a documentary with Alicia Keys called "Alicia in Africa: Journey to Motherland." This is a documentary that has been released with the hope of educating the public about the plight of these children, and that AIDS can be ended if we stop the spread of it.
Support Charities by Shopping
Keep a Child Alive has opened up an online shop that sells shirts, baskets, scarfs, bracelets, and DVDs. The proceeds from these products go directly to the program to help buy medication, food, shelter, and safety for the people affected by HIV/AIDs in India and Africa.
Another way to help any charity is education. Educate yourself as well as everyone around you about the problems that these children face, and how they can be helped. Simply because they are half a world away doesn't mean that we cannot help them. Education about AIDS should not focus exclusively on AIDS in third world countries, but it should also talk about how to important it is for sexually active adults to regularly receive STD tests.
Donating to Keep a Child Alive
Donating to Keep a Child Alive is fairly simple, and seems to follow the standard for online donations. Simply donate through their website, choosing to either make a one time donation or a reoccurring donation.
Keep a Child Alive also has simple plans set up to help anyone give, including allowing people to donate air miles, monthly giving plans, and employee matching programs.
They also have internship programs throughout the year, so that someone could donate their time instead of cash. Simply check their website occasionally for openings.
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