Watch our video and see the impact our donors are having on vulnerable, malnourished children in Zambia.
Finding out you are HIV+ and coming to terms with that requires a lot of support, both from your medical team and family and friends. With myths, stigma and discrimination that still exists within the community it can be difficult to know who to trust, as Musamba, aged 22, found out:
"lIFE ISN'T ALWAYS ABOUT YOUR WANTS AND NEEDS, BUT WHAT THE COMMUNITIES NEEDS - LIKE MORE HIV+ ROLE-MODELS"
"IN ORDER FOR YOU TO ACCEPT A SITUATION YOU NEED TO FORGIVE YOURSELF AND THEN OTHERS"
"LIVING WITH HIV YOU CAN OFTEN STIGMATIZE YOURSELF, REMOVING YOURSELF FROM RELATIONSHIPS BECAUSE OF FEAR, BUT WHEN YOU HAVE A MENTOR IT CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING."
The staff and board at Tiny Tim & Friends are committed to continuing our work and developing programs to support even more HIV+ children and adolescents live healthy, positive lives. Our donors and supporters have enabled TTF to pilot many new interventions over the years which have allowed us to change the lives of thousands of HIV+ individuals. WE CONTINUE TO NEED YOUR SUPPORT IN CHANGING LIVES.
Adolescent girls are twice as likely to get infected with HIV as their male counterparts. And many adolescents do not feel empowered to access contraception, do not feel empowered to ask their partner to wear use condoms, or do not know where to access contraception from in order to protect themselves from infection.
When some of our adolescent peer mentors came to us recently to suggest setting up youth friendly services at the TTF Clinic, we were excited to hear about their ideas. Our aim is to support them to develop a youth focused project which could not only help us in retaining our existing adolescent patients into treatment but in identifying new patients to reach out to and providing a safe space for young people to come and access information and services.
IT COSTS LESS THAN $7,000 TO SET UP AND RUN OUR YOUTH FRIENDLY SERVICE FOR 6 MONTHS.
The purpose of the youth friendly center would be to provide youth led HIV testing, counselling, sexual reproductive health information, access to condoms and referral services for those in need of HIV treatment, or other health and counselling services. We would also run community based outreach services, led by our teen mentors and youth counselors, with the purpose of encouraging HIV testing in the community around the TTF Clinic and to encourage individuals to come to the clinic for testing and information services.
Finally the youth groups want to establish chess clubs, sports teams and activity groups to provide a much needed distraction from some of the vices, such as alcohol and drug abuse, which are too easily accessible to the vulnerable populations we work with.
We are more than confident that with the right funding, and guidance from the TTF management and social work teams our peer mentors can set up services which supports adolescents in:
BUT WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT. IT WOULD COST US LESS THAN $7,000 TO ESTABLISH AND RUN OUR YOUTH FRIENDLY CENTER FOR 6 MONTHS, DURING WHICH TIME THE YOUTH WOULD LOOK TO UNDERTAKE FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES OF THEIR OWN IN LUSAKA TO SUPPORT THEIR CONTINUED OPERATIONS. PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING OUR WORK BY DONATING TO TTF TODAY!(Please state the purpose of your donation on the donation page)
Dr. Tim had such a great impact on the patients and people that we work with. So when one of our community volunteers gave birth to a little boy the day after Tim passed away last year, she decided to name her new born son Tim, to pay tribute to the work he had done to help her and others living with HIV to healthy lives and have healthy HIV negative children.
"Dr. Tim was a man of action, and I hope for my son to grow up to live up to his namesake."
In 2016 TTF ran a Crowd Funding campaign through Caring Crowd to support 50 of the most malnourished patients at Tiny Tim & Friends. Thanks to the support of 79 donors who came together to support our cause, and to Johnson & Johnson who matched every donation, we were successful in reaching our goal.
So in early 2017 we spent time undertaking home visits, to understand the needs of our patients, and identifying those most in need of nutritional support. Finding 25 children and adolescents who were eligible was sadly not difficult.
Many of the children were so malnourished and underweight they were suffering with opportunistic infections and alongside nutritional support also required supervised palliative care to help them get well.
Supporting families with nutritional food packages is easy. But ensuring the children we are supporting are gaining weight and getting healthy is much more complex, involving regular counselling, home assessments, medical interventions and sometimes palliative care.
Thanks to the support of 79 donors through CaringCrowd and from the hard work of our counsellors all of the children gained weight, including one child who gained a massive 9kgs. Stay posted for further stories of each of these children but in the meantime we hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of just a few of the children you have changed the lives of.
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."