When Virginia arrived in Maputo, Mozambique, it was the most difficult time of her life. And she was all alone.
She had just learned that she was HIV positive. At the first sign of symptoms, she was ostracized from her home and left to fend for herself. The stigma of HIV and AIDS was enough that even her closest friends and family members were afraid to care for her.
Weak and frail, Virginia could barely walk. She traveled outside the city, looking for a place to stay. As she walked along dusty gravel roads, she found a place in the urban slums of Maputo. Nearly everyone living there is infected with HIV or AIDS.
It was in Maputo where she first met Beatrice. Beatrice is a community nurse working with a program of The Lutheran World Federation, which is supported by gifts to ELCA World Hunger.
When people arrive in Maputo without any means for care and treatment, Beatrice is there to help. And when Virginia arrived, Beatrice immediately started caring for her at home. Beatrice helped Virginia acquire antiretroviral medications and begin a treatment plan.
Because the medications are most effective when taken with protein-rich foods, Beatrice often brought a basket filled with nutritious foods, such as chicken, on her home visits with Virginia.
Each week, volunteer community activists regularly visited Virginia at home to lend a listening ear and offer a word of prayer. Over the course of a year, Virginia slowly regained her strength and her health. Today, she can walk, cook and take part in other activities that are signs of hope and strength.
Virginia isn’t the only person whose life has been changed by this program. The same volunteer activists who offer prayer and support are trained to visit neighboring communities and educate others. They talk about the spread of the disease and help reduce stigma.
Over time, communities are better equipped to care for the sick and reduce the spread of the disease. ELCA World Hunger supports hospitals, clinics and home-based care programs such as these in dozens of countries throughout the world.
Your gifts ensure that this important work continues. And with the new ELCA Good Gifts catalog, you can directly support the areas of work that respond faithfully to the AIDS pandemic.
A gift of just $100 can provide a year of home visits and medications for a person living with HIV and AIDS. Or a gift of $1,800 could provide comprehensive HIV and AIDS training in a rural village. Shop the online catalog or call 800-638-3522 to order a copy, or give online to ELCA World Hunger.