Providing livelihood options for children and youth living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in Uganda.
Villa Maria Hospital is located in Masaka district in Uganda, an area that has experienced high HIV prevalence rates since the advent of the disease in Uganda. The hospital serves a scattered rural population characterized by high levels of poverty, low literacy levels, cultural taboos, stereotypes and beliefs that marginalize women and girls. In this district, there are high HIV prevalence rates, high numbers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), poor government service delivery riddled with corruption and ill-equipped health institutions. Villa Maria's Home Care Programme started in 1989 with the purpose of assisting people living with HIV and their families. In 2001, the programme designed a holistic approach to respond to the growing number of orphans left by clients who died of AIDS-related illnesses. The quality of life for orphans and vulnerable children in Villa Maria's environs has been poor due to inadequate support to enable them acquire education and livelihood skills. One of the major objectives of the programme thus is to improve the livelihood of OVC. (excerpt)