USPG is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock and champion justice. Each year USPG has a Harvest Appeal and this year’s is in aid of Zimbabwe’s Gardens of Life.
While Zimbabwe is on the way to reducing HIV and AIDS, many of those who live with HIV still face stigma around disclosing their status. To support local people, the Church of Zimbabwe’s Stigma Reduction Programme trains church leaders on issues of HIV and has created wellness groups that provide a network to people living with HIV. As well as emotional support, they offer access with developing sustainable livelihoods.
Hope is 48 years old and a mother of 4 children. She tested positive for HIV five years ago and immediately experienced a negative impact on her family and food insecurity with some of her children having to drop out of school, causing a lot of stress in the family and a deterioration in her health. Hope and others living with HIV in her area tried to mobilise themselves but there was no support for them.
Then the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo introduced the HIV Stigma Reduction programme and her community embraced it. They were helped to set up a nutrition garden where they were able to meet and support each other as they grew vegetables. The income generating activities that Hope was taught in the garden enabled Hope to send her children back to school. Her health has improved with the extra nutrition, along with adhering to her Antiretroviral therapy. She now shares her story in her village and many of those who initially shunned her have joined the wellness groups.
Last year St Eustachius’ donated £187.50 to the Harvest Appeal and we shall be having a retiring collection at one of the services in September.
Thanking you in anticipation.