Sunday, January 6, 2008
When we talk about equipping churches to empower AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, we're talking about people like Mrs. Maposa. This grandmother has spent the past 14 years volunteering with the local AIDS Project to give care and support to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
Mrs. Maposa is a Home Based Care worker. Her work involves visiting her clients – like the children we profiled earlier in this blog – 3 times a week, attending to their various and changing needs.
She works as part of a team of 6 or 7 other local Home Based Care volunteers, who together cover a large area and provide care for over 40 children and families. Most of these volunteers are women, but slowly their role in the community is gaining greater recognition and respect among men as well. It is sometimes thankless job – caring for the sick and the orphaned. HIV/AIDS still carries a stigma throughout much of the world, and her community is no exception. But she is encouraged by the welcome and support given to her by the AIDS Project staff. She says "they always welcome me at the office and quickly run to get whatever I need for the children and families!"
Mrs. Maposa's frequent visits allow her to be closely attuned to the needs of those she cares for. On any given day she might be fetching water and firewood for them, getting supplies from the AIDS Project clinic, providing emotional and spiritual counseling, praying with them, or bringing a Home Based Care kit of necessary supplies.
Her work places her as a guide and encourager through the most devastating experiences her "clients" face. She encourages people to be tested for HIV if they don't already know their status, and she is often the first to know if a person is HIV positive. Her acts of love, acceptance and friendship even after she learns their status are an incredible gift to those struggling to reconcile themselves to this devastating news. She is also present at the funerals – sometimes two or three each week – where she comforts the children and family left behind, helps to lead the ceremony, shares her own memories about the person who has died and speaks out on behalf of others who are living with HIV/AIDS.
All of this is done as primarily volunteer work, with limited compensation. Mrs. Maposa supports herself financially by making crafts to sell, growing her own garden (when water and seed are available) and raising a few chickens. She lives in a simple but well-kept, one-room home with a table, a small couch, some dishes and a few decorations. etc.
But for this caring woman, it is an honor to continue sacrificing her time and energy to serve others in her community, just as she has for the past 14 years. She has committed her life to lifting up and supporting those in her community who could so easily be forgotten. She gives them a voice when they can no longer speak out for themselves.
At Forgotten Voices, we are committed to equipping local churches to empower orphans in their communities. Thank you for your help in supporting our ministry and the work of leaders like Mrs. Maposa.
Written by Ryan - ForgottenVoices.org at 1/06/2008 04:42:00 PM