Street children and family strengthening in Burundi
These are the words from a beneficiary, stated during a meeting for beneficiaries of the SOS Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) in Muyinga, Burundi.
Mrs A (we would rather respect her privacy), is married to a soldier and mother of two children. She and her family are living in the military camp of Mukoni, which is approximately 3 km from the SOS Children’s Village of Muyinga. Mrs A has been tested HIV positive in 2003. When she developed full blown Aids during 2004, her health condition deteriorated and she got weaker day by day. Also, the relationship with her husband got worse since they have been accusing each other about who has infected who with HIV/AIDS. As a result, her husband left her what made her become even worse and she lost all her hope and energy to live. She knew that she was not able to properly care for her children and was very worried about their future.
In 2004, when this family was registered under the family strengthening programme, the SOS Children nurse became involved wanting to support this mother to regain her hope. First of all the nurse explained Mrs A that being HIV positive is not necessarily the end but rather that one can live ‘positively’. Secondly, the nurse contacted the nearby military camp and inquired for support for ARV medication for this family, since she knew that the camp had already made provisions for ARV treatment of their staff members by setting-up a HIV/AIDS solidarity fund. The military commander has been very helpful and assured their support for this family.
In a third step, the nurse also invited Mr A for counseling to make him understand that it is possible to ‘live positively’ and that they should try to overcome their differences for the good of their children.
Today, Mrs A is smiling again, as her physical health condition is getting better every day and she is able to care for her two children. It did not take a huge amount of money for someone to take interest in her situation and help her to make use of what was available, but it made a huge impact to her life and especially the lives of her children who are now able to grow up in a family with their mothers love rather than watch her deteriorate and end up on the streets.