an HIV Positive Child
George Chunga is an eleven (11) year old boy from Chimoto community in Lufwanyama district. He lives with his grandmother in a one room grass thatched mud house. George and his grand mother sleep on the floor using an old empty grain sack , they cover themselves with Chitenge which is a type of cotton fabric. George has natural abilities to do things and he is not the shy type . This was demonstrated when he raised his hand for attention during one of the distribution events for clothes and shoes boxes.
He askek; Madam ! will this distribution of clothes and boxes continue as long as we live? If so what about us children who are HIV positive? What is there for us?”
The question really caught the Director of FOF off guard, so she decicec to visit the boy’ home and see what could be done for the family. This was during the first visit to Chimoto community with the Team Zambia from Canada led by Keith Sparrow.
The house is not strong enough and poses a risk factor, but there is nothing the grandmother can do to improve the situation. For them what is of paramount importance is the shelter. Judging by the poor state of the house, George’s grandmother has lived in that house for same time now.
Note that they were sleeping on the floor by spreading an empty poly bag or sack on the floor and being exposed to the cold.
George is HIV+ and had been diagonised with the virus when he was very young . Apart from George there are other siblings in the home and George is the youngest in the family.
George, despite his condition is a responsible boy, He helps his grandmother by fetching water from the well and keepin the area around the house clean. Thankfully George does not suffer from stigma or discrimination and he interacts freely with his peers.
The pictures below show George drawing water from a well. This is typically a man or woman’s job, but George feels he can do it as well.
When George and his friends want to play soccer they make soccer balls from pieces of cloth and plastic. This takes a lot of initiative and creativity as resource are scarce and, access to modern recreational amenities and facilities are non-existence. George loves soccer and that is how he spends his free time when he wants to relax and or get some exercise.
Everything he and his friends use for recreation is made from typical local materials.
Faith Orphanage Foundation has provided support to George and his family from the beginning when he was first diagnosed as HIV positive. Each time they visited the center they were given some bottle of selenium to take as a nutrition supplement. This helped George to regain his strength and become very active.
This year in 2015 during the distribution of clothes and shoe boxes at the center, George and his family were also remember. They received blankets, food,selenium and clothes. In addition to that, George was also given a soccer ball. These items have made a big difference to the family and other beneficiaries, Thanks to selenium George who was showing signs of being malnourished and stunted, now shows signs of a thriving child.By looking at him today one could not tell that previously George had been critically ill. He now looks like every other health child. George does a lot of household chores including drawing water from a well, which is a big task for an eleven year old child. All this is possible because of the strength and energy that he now has.
George’s grandmother very thankful and appreciative to Faith Orphanage Foundation for helping her family, and keeps saying,”May God continue blessing you Mrs Liyena and the people that send these gifts to your organisation”.
George wants to become a teacher when he grows up. This child and many other children out there regardless of their health status need the support from everyone for for them to be proactive and attain their life goals.
The availability of selenium in George’s home has tremendously helped this boy to attain good health and be both physiologically and mentally sound. FOF will continue to distribute the selenium nutritional supplement to those in need of it like Grorge.
George’s last question was ,”Are you going to continue doing this for me? Meaning ,”Are you going to continue supporting me?”
George is just one example of children who need the support of people and organisations working with children in need regardless of their health stastus.
Let us give every individual (including children) a chance !