Ensuring the administration and tracking of progress of all of our programmes requires a lot of hard work and dedication from our admin team. Hear from our Admin and Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Rodin on some of the challenges working with HIV+ children:
When did you start working with Tiny Tim & Friends?
"I initially came to TTF as I was working with one of their partners as a paediatric counsellor - I really liked how closely they worked with the children and wanted to be a part of their indepth social programmes, so I joined the team in 2011 - it was much smaller then and a lot more all hands on deck so I was part data, part counselling"
Why do you think TTF's work is so important?
"TTF is probably one of the only, if not the only organisation, in Lusaka, that focus a lot on the social issues of our patients. Government clinics cover the necessary but dont have the time to go into detail on the issues we do. We take an interest in making sure our patients can access medication, even when they are too sick to come to the clinic. We often go to our patients home's to see how they are doing and if they need medication take it to them, or take them to the hospice when they are too sick for us to deal with. No one else provides that level of care in Zambia."
Why do you like working at Tiny Tim & Friends?
"I started because I like working with children. Part of my job now is collecting data on our programmes and this helps me to see how many children we are helping and the bigger picture. I know that if we give children a chance by working closely with them we can definitely achieve zero transmission in the future. I want to be part of that group that says "We have done that - there is no more HIV transmission", I think that will be a great feeling. "
Today in our series of meet the staff, we catch up with our Acting Country Director/ Fundraising and Partnerships Director, Jac, who explains why she is committed to working at Tiny Tim & Friends:
How did you come to work at Tiny Tim & Friends?
"When I first graduated from University I started working in PR, and I realised I was making money for people who had a lot already. I was once told by an old manager that I was pretty good at getting money out of people for a cause so it made sense I went into Fundraising. I initially came out to Zambia as a volunteer and then Tim told me about the position of Fundraising Director at TTF, I knew how passionate he was about the organisation so it seemed like a great move for me to help him achieve his mission."
Why do you think TTF's cause is important?
"There is a lot of focus on access to treatment and getting people on medication for HIV in Zambia. But getting onto medication is just the first step. Children don't always understand why they are taking medicine, or if they do they are scared of what their friends will say or think and therefore they miss doses. By closely working with children from an early age and supporting them through the difficult teenage years we can make sure they are empowered about their HIV status to help them stay healthy and increase their ability to lead a long, healthy life."
Why do you think people should support Tiny Tim & Friends?
"I think the only thing which separates us as humans is that some people are luckier to have been born in countries with better health, education and welfare systems than others. When you come from a developed country it is easy to take for granted services which can provide benefits to support people living in poverty. These don't exist in Zambia.
I believe that everyone deserves a right to good healthcare and education. The intensive support we give the children at the TTF clinic can provide them high quality health care and hopefully enable them to be well enough to go to school - that in itself is an incredible gift."
What do you see as the future for TTF?
"Tim started TTF over 12 years ago, the mission of a world where no child has HIV has never changed. I think there is great potential for Tiny Tim & Friends to change the lives of the children we work with, I see it happening every day - we may not be reaching out to millions of people but our impact on individuals is huge. We hope to continue long into the future and would love for our supporters around the world to continue with us on the Journey Tim started."
Counseling is equally as important in the treatment of HIV as the medical treatment. We have a skilled team of counselors who are commited to supporting the children we work with. Today meet Betty, who tells us why she works at Tiny Tim & Friends:
What made you dedice to become a counselor?
"Initially I was studying Law but I didn't feel like I was connecting with people or having that great an impact on their lives. So I started something completely different and moved to social work. This way I feel like I am having more of an impact on people.
Zambia is one of the countries most affected by HIV and the people lack a lot of informaiton on HIV prevention. It is important that people take time to learn about HIV and I want to help in that. "
What made you want to work at Tiny Tim & Friends?
"My passion working at Tiny Tim & Friends started when I was an intern for a few months. From the moment I came here I knew it was where I wanted to be so when a full time post came up I was very quick to apply".
What is your favourite part of working at TTF?
"When I get to tell an HIV+ woman that her baby is HIV negative, I can see that the work we are doing is making a difference.
Also I think working with children, you can change a family and that is how you reach out into the community and start to have a real impact on HIV in Zambia"
Why would you encourage people to give to TTF rather than other organisations?
"There aren't a lot of NGO's just focussed on pediatric HIV in Zambia. Pediatric HIV is very preventable and our work can eliminate HIV in children. By working together we can change the future for the next generation of Zambians - our work is important and I hope our donors feel that when they give to us."
We want to share with you stories of the individuals who work tirelessly to ensure that your donations have a significant impact on the lives of the children we support - today meet Francis, Clinical Officer at Tiny Tim & Friends:
Why did you chose to work in medicine?
"I trained as a clinical officer and specialised in ART in 2009. I have always been committed to HIV. It is a major epideminc in Zambia, and I feel the need to contribute to the change that is possible for my country.
From an early childhood I have always liked doing positive things for people and being around people so becoming a clinical officer made perfect sense to me.
Why did you decide to work at Tiny Tim & Friends?
The best thing about working at Tiny Tim & Friends is when you see a patient who was previously really ill recover and look great. The worst is when you see a patient who is too sick to recover and there is little you can do to help but the staff at TTF are always dedicated to the kids and we are able to give them the special attention which isnt always possible in government facilities due to overcrowding of the facilities. I think thats important for children, to feel like you know them and have time for them rather than they are just in a clinic.
What is your message to our donors?
I would like to thank them - your efforts are going a long way to preserve childrens life, letting them get an education and giving them a future. On their own they wouldnt have a chance and we appreciate your support all the time - so please continue to support us!"