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Building Community, Saving Lives

November 8, 2011

By Simon Chambers

Building Community, Saving Lives

The Anglican Diocese of Gitega, a PWRDF partner, is located in central east Burundi near the border with Tanzania.  The area faces many challenges including a high rate of HIV and AIDS, extreme poverty, and a large number of returned refugees and displaced people moving into the area.

Since the late 1980s, PWRDF has worked with the diocese to address a range of issues including sanitation, access to water, literacy, HIV and AIDS, and improving agricultural techniques and strains.  The goal of all this work is to improve the health and the socio-economic wellbeing of the most vulnerable people in the community.

One example of the effectiveness of this program is the small business group of 50 people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHIV).  The diocese provided training in small business management and helped them start generating income for themselves.

Equally importantly, participating in the group brought these people together into a community.  People living with HIV and AIDS in Burundi suffer from strong stigma and are often ostracized from their community and even their families.  The diocesan workers befriend PLWHIV and help them to find community through the church and with each other.   The group has worked together to fight stigma and ethnic divisions, sharing problems, and socializing with each other.

PWRDF is proud to be partnered with the Diocese of Gitega in bringing this life-changing work to fruition.

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