Many people don't realize that it is totally possible for a woman living with HIV to have a healthy, HIV negative baby. If we can get a woman on HIV treatment early enough into her pregnancy, we can suppress the virus within her body, reducing the risk of HIV transmission to Zero.
Over the past two years our prevention of mother to child transmission program has been 100% successful, with no child being born with HIV when we have got the mother onto treatment at least three months prior to deliver.
Many government clinics lack basic supplies for women during labor, meaning women are either denied access to the facility or have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy due to basic supplies not being available. Our birthing hampers can be life changing, being the difference between a woman giving with at home, or safely in a facility.
Blessings, 14, is shy. I can see she has a lot of potential if she was given the right opportunities in life. But she doesn't make friends easily. She stigmatizes herself and withdraws, denying herself the support network she desperately needs to shine.
I sit with her and talk to her about living with HIV. With support from TTF her mum told her she is HIV+. To help her understand what this means Blessings is attending a children's support group. She is learning about HIV and how to live healthily.
She is clever and explains brilliantly about the things she has learned. She says she feels better having made friends at the support group but I know she often sits to the side, quietly taking in the scenes around her, too shy to interact with her peers.
I ask Blessings how she feels about living with HIV. She tells me she feels bad. She says she hears people saying things about people living with HIV that make her feel bad about herself. Even with HIV education she continues to self stigmatize.
But it doesn’t have to be this way for Blessings.
Our staff take their time to get to know her needs beyond HIV treatment, they will help her find a way to feel good about herself.
We make the TTF clinic a place where confidence and independence can be gained. But this doesn't happen overnight and we cant do it alone. More than ever we need your help to change lives.This year we are aiming to raise $20,000 to support the Tiny Tim & Friends Clinic and we need your support.
I urge you to give a child like Blessings a gift this Christmas by donating to Tiny Tim & Friends. Your support ensures Blessings, and many other children like her can get the right treatment, care and counseling they need to thrive in life.
Jac Connell, Director, Tiny Tim & Friends Zambia.
It's the donors at Tiny Tim & Friends who are pivotal to our work. We wanted to share with you the story of one donor and why she supports our work.
GANDHI SAID "BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD", DR. TIM WAS THE CHANGE......HIS PASSION ENGAGED MY HEART"
Written by Eileen Leo, TTF Donor:
"I will never forget how I first heard about Tiny Tim & Friends and how I came to meet Dr. Tim, his lovely parents, Betty and Tom, Tiny Tim, his terrific young son, and his wonderful siblings.
I don’t usually read the Edina Sun newspaper, but that day I was skimming it and noticed a short article about a Fundraiser for a local non-profit, Tiny Tim & Friends, to support the work of Dr. Tim Meade, a pediatric HIV/AIDS specialist in Zambia.
Curious to know more, I found Betty and Tom’s phone number, called, and enjoyed a lovely chat with Betty who warmly invited me to attend the fundraiser. In listening to Dr. Tim tell the story of Tiny Tim & Friends and show photos of the children and the work they do I was captivated by his passion and zeal, the ongoing efforts of the Clinic’s team, and the amazing progress of hundreds of children when tested and begun on a regimen of medicine.
Dr. Tim’s presentation enlarged my world and engaged my heart. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Dr. Tim was the change."
"Tom and Betty Meade launched Tiny Tim & Friends to support their son’s work, and to tell the world about the children in Zambia and how we can help. They have made 7 or 8 trips to visit the clinic compound in Lusaka, Zambia!!
Their crowning jewel is Tiny Tim, Dr. Tim’s wonderful son. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him a few times when he and his Dad visited “Grandma and Grandpa” who hosted fun fundraisers every summer. Betty and Tom’s charisma is something to be experienced! It was infectious; I wanted to do something to help and be a part of their work. I offered to make quilts to sell at a fundraiser. Little did I know that Tom would build a beautiful quilt rack !!!
Many of my friends have purses, baskets, and jewelry made by talented Zambian women. The very personal connection I felt when I found their names written on a little piece of paper in the purse, or on the bottom of a basket. I am the richer for having the women’s beautifully woven colorful baskets in my home, for carrying their purses knitted out of colorful plastic bags, proudly telling the story of Tiny Tim & Friends."
"please join us in being an ongoing part of the team at tiny tim......there's room for you on the path!"
"I have saved every newsletter filled with clinic updates, progress celebrated, photos, interning college students who have caught Dr. Tim’s passion, ongoing concerns, new endeavors, ways to help.
The bliss and the blisters. And the blessed. I am blessed for having known Dr. Tim. I always wanted to go to Zambia to visit and volunteer for a month or so, maybe help in the school. I never did go to Zambia but never will lose my heartfelt connection and commitment to the children and to Dr. Tim’s dream. I decided to honor Dr. Tim by becoming a monthly donor and be an ongoing part of the team. Thanks to Betty and Tom Meade, “Tiny Tim & Friends” has hundreds of people walking the path behind Dr. Tim.
Please join us…there’s room for you on the path.
For the love of children and in memory of Dr. Tim, thank you."
Watch our video and see the impact our donors are having on vulnerable, malnourished children in Zambia.
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)
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.
AS SOON AS WE ASKED RACHEL'S MOTHER ABOUT FOOD SHE BROKE DOWN IN TEARS
By Jac Connell, Acting Country Director, Tiny Tim & Friends:
A few weeks ago one of the social work team came to my office with a small child, Rachel (aged 2), who had been identified at the Clinic that day as HIV+ and at risk of TB. Weighing only 7.1kgs (15lbs), our counselor, Mwenda, was concerned about malnutrition and wanted to include Rachel on the list of patients who would benefit from our crowd funding campaign, should we be successful.
She was incredibly tiny and I could tell from holding her that she had breathing problems and a persistent cough, a symptom we see often at the clinic and a primary indicator of TB.
As with all of the patients we are considering supporting with nutrition the team usually sit with the family or undertake a home visit to assess what the household is like, how many people the individual lives with and what the income for the household is.
As soon as we asked Elina, Rachel's mother, about food for the family she broke down in tears. She admitted that there was no food at home, as her husband was bedridden with TB and therefore had lost his job. They were totally reliant on her mother in law to provide food and often would survive on only one meal a day.
RACHEL IS VULNERABLE. BEING UNDERWEIGHT PUTS HER AT RISK OF A NUMBER OF ILLNESSES WHICH COULD PROVE FATAL.
Sadly, their story isn't particularly unique to us. They live in a two room house, sharing a pit latrine with their neighbors (17 people in total). Elina had never been to school as a child because her family couldn't afford it and therefore had never been able to get a job herself. Rachel's father is unable to work so they pay their rentals (approx $30 per month) through support from other family members.
Rachel has an older sister, who is 7 and in good health, but who has had to stop going to school after they could no longer pay the school fees.
Rachel has been diagnosed with TB, but without food, both her and her father will struggle to take their medicine, recover and risk passing the disease to her mother. Having only recently started on HIV treatment, Rachel is in a vulnerable situation. Being underweight puts her at risk of picking up any number of illnesses which could prove to be fatal.
We need all of our donors and supporters around the world to come together to support children like Rachel through our crowd funding campaign - by donating you will change a child's life:
PANJI IS DESPARATE TO FINISH SCHOOL BUT HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO ATTEND FOR OVER 6 MONTHS DUE TO POOR HEALTH
Sadly, sometimes patients come to TTF and from their appearance you immediately you know there is a major health problem. This was the case for 19 year old Panji when he was brought to the TTF Clinic earlier this year. Panji is 1.73m (5ft 8) and weighs only 42Kgs (92lbs). He is significantly malnourished and currently undergoing tests to see if he is suffering from Tuberculosis.
His malnutrition, alongside HIV and suspected TB puts his health at significant risk, and without boosting his immune system just a small infection could prove fatal.
Panji's parents died when he was just a child and he now lives in a one room house with 6 other people (his sister (pictured below), brother in law, and four nieces and nephews), sharing a pit latrine with 20 other people. Whilst food in the home is provided by Panji's brother in law, there isn't enough to support Panji in his current state and he is in desperate need of nutritional support. He needs your help to ensure he can go on to finish his education and lead a healthy, successful life.
"I WANT TO FINISH SCHOOL SO I CAN BECOME A DOCTOR AND HELP OTHERS"
Panji, was identified in the community by one of our teen mentors. He had previously been tested for HIV but wasn't yet ready to accept his status. Our staff have been working closely with him to provide him with medical advice and emotional counselling to prepare him to start on medication. But because of his late access to treatment he is incredibly sick and because of his poor health, he has been unable to attend school for the past 6 months. He desperately wants to complete his education so he can make something of his life and help others.
With the right medical, social and nutritional support Panji can go onto lead a healthy life, but we need your donations to support him and 49 other children and adolescents like him to reach our crowdfunding goal. So please consider pledging today and changing Panjis life around for the better!