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Sponsorship helps an HIV-positive girl enjoy childhood

Critical health care, provided through World Vision sponsorship, is helping this young girl in Haiti overcome the worries and stigma associated with HIV.

January 2009



Marie takes a walk with her great-grandmother. Without the assistance provided by World Vision sponsorship, Marie's HIV-positive status would prevent her from enjoying the unburdened, hopeful life she has.
Marie takes a walk with her great-grandmother. Without the assistance provided by World Vision sponsorship, Marie's HIV-positive status would prevent her from enjoying the unburdened, hopeful life that she has.
Photo ©2008 Andrea Peer/World Vision

To watch her playing with other children, it is hard to believe that 10-year-old Marie* is HIV-positive. She is content, active, and shows little sign of infection. But this young girl and her great-grandmother, whom she calls “Mama,” know all too well the extra work and precautions that it takes to keep Marie so healthy.

Fighting HIV


Marie has seen first-hand what happens when HIV goes untreated. As a young girl, she watched her mother grow ill and die of AIDS-related symptoms. “She is dead, but I don’t remember when she died,” says Marie, who has been living with her 80-year-old great-grandmother ever since. Marie's older brother lives across town with their grandma, and Marie only gets to see him when they stop by on the way to the hospital.


Your love and support for a child affected by HIV in Haiti will provide him or her with food, clean water, health care, and an education, all of which will help transcend the stigma and burdens associated with the disease.

Proper treatment for Marie involves regular visits to Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital city on the main island. At the hospital there, she can receive HIV-specific care, including shots. Yet transportation from their remote island home costs money, and Marie's great-grandmother, who earns a meager living selling fried pork in the market, can barely provide food. On her own, she would be unable to help her granddaughter fight HIV.

Critical assistance

But thankfully, Marie and her great-grandmother do not have to shoulder these burdens on their own. World Vision is committed to assisting orphans like Marie, particularly those affected by AIDS. Two years ago, staff at a World Vision-run clinic diagnosed Marie's HIV-positive status. Marie was matched with a sponsor, whose monthly gifts provide her with educational assistance, basic necessities, and critical health care. Now, World Vision covers the cost of her transportation to Port-au-Prince, so that she can receive her shots.

Though Marie dislikes the shots, which are frightening and painful, she knows that they have made a difference in her health. “I was sick before taking the shots,” she recalls. But shots are not the only thing that has made a difference for Marie. World Vision caretakers, who regularly visit Marie's home and provide her with medicine at the nearby clinic, have also had a profound impact on her life.

Taking precautions

At the World Vision-run clinic Marie attends, caretakers trained her and her great-grandmother on the proper way to clean her sores so they won't become infected.
At the World Vision-run clinic Marie attends, caretakers trained her and her great-grandmother on the proper way to clean her sores so they won't become infected.
Photo ©2008 Andrea Peer/World Vision
World Vision gives Marie monthly food supplies and makes sure that she is getting a nutritious diet. At the clinic, Marie and her great-grandmother were trained on the proper way to clean her sores so that they won't become infected. “They talk to my mama. They tell her to wash me with warm water and to wash my clothes in warm water,” says Marie.

The nurses have also told Marie not to play in the dirt, which increases her risk of getting sores. “When the sores come out, we work really fast so that it doesn't raise concerns or questions,” says Anne, a nurse who has become Marie's close friend. Anne is careful to conceal Marie's HIV status because of the stigma that is often associated with the disease. “If people knew, maybe we wouldn't see her playing with other kids as much,” she says.

Enjoying childhood


But because of the careful care Marie receives, she is not only fighting HIV, she is also overcoming the stigma that would keep her from actively participating in her community. Marie enjoys attending church and playing with her cousins and friends from school. She has also made new friends, including the nurses at the clinic and her sponsors, who send her letters and pictures.

Unhindered by illness, Marie is able to take pleasure in simple things, like helping her grandmother cook rice and beans. Someday, she hopes to become an even better cook. “I would like to know how to cook. That’s all I can think of,” she says. Thanks to World Vision and the generosity of her sponsor, Marie is not burdened by worries about food or HIV. Instead, she is healthy enough to look to the future with hope.

*Name was changed to protect the child's identity because of her HIV status.

Learn more

>> Read more about the global AIDS crisis and World Vision's efforts to bring comfort and healing to children, families, and communities affected by this humanitarian emergency.

Four ways you can help

>> Pray for children like Marie who have been orphaned due to AIDS and are struggling to survive, often while fighting HIV. Thank God for organizations like World Vision that help them with critical health care and basic necessities.
>> Sponsor a child in Haiti. By sharing love with an AIDS-affected child like Marie, you will help provide education, food, and much-needed health care that will give him or her the opportunity to enjoy an active childhood.
>> Speak out for AIDS-affected children. Urge Congress to continue and increase the U.S. contribution to the fight against global HIV and AIDS.
>> Donate now to help children and families like Marie and her great-grandmother, who have been affected by HIV and AIDS. Your gift will help World Vision provide life-changing support in the form of basic needs, prevention education, home-based care, testing, and more.

Forward to a friend


Learn more

Read more about the global AIDS crisis and World Vision's efforts to bring comfort and healing to children, families, and communities affected by this humanitarian emergency.

Four ways you can help

Pray for children like Marie who have been orphaned due to AIDS and are struggling to survive, often while fighting HIV. Thank God for organizations like World Vision that help them with critical health care and basic necessities.
- -

Sponsor a child in Haiti. By sharing love with an AIDS-affected child like Marie, you will help provide education, food, and much-needed health care that will give him or her the opportunity to enjoy an active childhood.
- -
Speak out for AIDS-affected children. Urge Congress to continue and increase the U.S. contribution to the fight against global HIV and AIDS.
- -
Donate now to help children and families like Marie and her great-grandmother, who have been affected by HIV and AIDS. Your gift will help World Vision provide life-changing support in the form of basic needs, prevention education, home-based care, testing, and more.

 





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