In the 20 years since the opening of our office in Zambia's Meheba Refugee Settlement, AAR Japan has supported the refugees, mainly from Angola, in the areas of medicine, education, and agriculture. Since the refugees began to return home following the end of the Angolan Civil War in 2002, AAR Japan has been undertaking initiatives to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, which has been having a serious effect on local society, particularly in Zambia's capital of Lusaka and its suburbs.
Activities in Zambia
HIV/AIDS Initiative: Support for Schooling and Income-generating Activities
In Zambia, one in six children has lost his or her parents to AIDS. Many orphans cannot go to school because they do not have the means to pay the school fees including uniforms, school bags, and notebooks. AAR Japan is supporting the schooling of these children.
AAR Japan is also supporting income-generating activities such as raising poultry and milling maize (a staple food in Zambia, a kind of corn). This effort was begun by groups of guardians who have adopted orphans to bring up, with the aim of creating a fund to finance the children's schooling in the future.
HIV/AIDS Initiative: Construction of a VCT Center
For people living with HIV (PLWH), proper treatment can still minimize the potential for developing AIDS. In Chilanga and Chipapa, a suburb of Lusaka, AAR Japan has constructed a voluntary counseling and testing center (VCT center) that provides locals with medical checks and counseling. We plan to build a second VCT center in another district as well.
Support to School Initiatives
Education is essential for preventing HIV infection. With this in mind, AAR Japan is supporting the HIV/AIDS Initiative, which was formed by high school students to promote people's understanding of HIV/AIDS. Through home visits and awareness-raising activities, the group's members are educating people in the community about condom use and basic knowledge of HIV/AIDS.
Assistance for HIV-positive People
AAR Japan is supporting the efforts of self-help groups in which HIV-positive people share their problems and concerns. AAR Japan staff and local volunteers also visit the homes of HIV-positive people and patients to educate them about medicine, meals, and lifestyle choices appropriate to their conditions, also responding to the patients' concerns.