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Nuns help HIV/AIDS patients live meaningful lives

A congregation of nuns in this city are helping HIV-positive people fight discrimination and earn a living. Through their Abundant Charity Day-care Center, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, with the help of Loikaw diocese, provides food, medicine and clothing to HIV/AIDS patients and their children. The center also helps patients with livelihood skills. Monica, a 29-year-old ethnic Kayan Catholic, says that the center helped her buy shampoo in Yangon for sale at a small profit in Loikaw. She also attended a short course in Yangon that taught her how to make shampoo as well as an HIV awareness program run by the Catholic Religious Conference of Myanmar (CRCM) in the capital. Monica was infected by her husband who has since died. "When I was first diagnosed as HIV-positive, I was in great sorrow and wanted to die," she said. "But I realized I must try to live for my child who tested negative." The nuns' center was a vital part of coming to terms with her infection. "There was stigma and discrimination at the beginning," she said, "but now I can live meaningfully thanks to the nuns' support." Sister Evelyne Aye, who set up the center in 2007, said it was serving about 18 HIV positive people when it first started. The facility now serves about 50 people. The center is located near Christ the King Cathedral, and has a working team comprising two nuns, one accountant, two nurses and two HIV-positive people. "We started the mission in order to control the rising HIV infection rate, which is the scourge of the district," said Sister Aye, adding that HIV/AIDS patients are usually "neglected by the community and relatives." Patients come to the center every Saturday and are given foodstuffs such as rice, oil, eggs and chickpeas. Some of the food comes from the mission's own gardens. "We have planted many kinds of vegetables and fruits and are rearing three pigs," Sister Aye told UCA News. In 2007, the nuns gave one pig to each of 10 households, and to another 10 households 20,000 kyat (US$18) each. The center also supports 25 HIV-positive school children, supplying uniforms, paying school fees and buying stationery. Another beneficiary of the center, Lucia, said she is grateful to the nuns for providing her family with food, clothing and medicines, as her husband is jobless. "Thanks to the nuns, almost everything is going well in my life," she said. According to UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, 240,000 people in Myanmar are living with the HIV virus. Courtesy : UCAN If u Like this post please donate at leaste 1$.Thanx.
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Sharon said...


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Thank you,
Sharon Vegoe

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