Until recently, I did not see the potential in me – not until I met this 60-something lady from Australia. Her name is Lorrain Kirk. When I went to the airport to pick her up, on first sight, many questions quickly ran in my mind. What was Brendan thinking about to send to us such a person? Was he out of his mind? Did he understand the kind of person we really needed to work with? Those and many more are some of the questions, which ran in my mind while driving Lorrain to her host family. I said to myself, maybe, let me wait and take some time to see what’s going on and what she can do.
Lorrain was sent to Uganda by Palms to work with KIFAD for a period of two years. She is expected to participate in all HIV/AIDS Project activities and live with a host family. This programme with Palms is meant to facilitate an equitable partnership and an understanding of development challenges.
After a couple of months working with Lorrain, I came to realise the skills, potential, commitment, energy, enthusiasm and above all the willingness she has to ensure she makes a difference not only to our project and clients but also to the community in general; yes, a positive change. “Bob, I am here to work, and to work unreservedly” said Lorrain just a few days after joining our organization.
After Lorrain joined our HIV/AIDS Team, the impact was felt immediately – there has been a great improvement in our work and performance. The HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) team’s performance has greatly improved. It is more organised and the team has tested more community members than before in the shortest time.
As the struggle to fight the dreaded disease continues, the majority of Ugandans are unaware of their HIV/AIDS sero-status, leaving them unable to seek early treatment and care or to change behaviours that might put them and others at risk of HIV infection.
According to recent studies, persons living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda total 1.3 million with approximately 350,000 people (including 50,000 children) in urgent need of treatment. Unfortunately it is estimated that only 170,000 (16,000 children) are actually receiving treatment. Each year, Uganda loses about 65,000 people to HIV/AIDS and another 130,000 are infected. However, we cannot confidently say that these figures portray an accurate statistical representation of the magnitude of the problem precisely because only 21 percent of the adults in this country know their status.
KIFAD’s main goal is to contribute to increased access to comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment, home based care and support to PLWHA in Wakiso District. Our primary targets are people living with HIV/AIDS and children.
We concentrate mainly on increasing care and support to people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in order to mitigate the effects of the epidemic. Besides that we aim at strengthening the coping of People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA); assisting families to progressively become self reliant; building the internal capacity of KIFAD for effective and sustainable programme design and implementation; and finally, improving access to food among families and households infected and affected by HIV / AIDS, as far as our financial means allows us to.
Current projects include HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT); fundraising for KIFAD HIV/AIDS Support Center, where comprehensive treatment, care and support will be offered to people living with HIV/AIDS; and Vocational Skills Training for girls infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
This partnership is yielding results in the shortest time. The board, management and staff of KIFAD, on whose behalf I am writing, would like to register their heartfelt appreciation to Lorrain, her family and the entire team of Palms Australia for giving us such a wonderful person.
Thank you very much.
Bongole Richard Bob