Guest Blogger: Kieran Taylor
This month, Studio Samuel’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Course returned for 2021 to help a new class of girls avoid the devastating effects of the disease, an ongoing epidemic in Ethiopia.
Studio Samuel, a partner of the White Feather Foundation, is a training center based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Through its Training for Tomorrow program, a two-year life skills course, Studio Samuel has helped thousands of young Ethiopian girls born into extreme poverty to reach their full, self-sufficient potential since its inception in 2015. That same year, it introduced the HIV/AIDS Prevention Course to the program upon learning that one of its students, a ten-year-old girl, had become her HIV+ mother’s only caregiver.
The need for a program like this course in Ethiopia is substantial. The spread of HIV/AIDS remains at epidemic proportions, the effects of which are compounded by a high rate of poverty, disproportionate effects against women, and a broad stigma against the disease. Though proper education, testing and diagnosis are essential to HIV prevention and treatment, the social taboo of discussing it keeps many from getting the treatment they need. Furthermore, many girls forced into caregiver roles are denied their education, often the key to lifting them and their families out of the cycle of poverty. Facing these challenges, Studio Samuel is committed to ensuring that girls enrolled in its programs are well-equipped and empowered to take charge of their health and safety.
So far, the course has been a terrific success. The first class of 25 girls enrolled have all been certified in HIV awareness; all 25 agreed to be tested for the disease, and all 25 tested negative. Their training will go a long way towards helping them avoid the dangers of HIV, and is an important step in breaking down the social stigma surrounding it.
An unfortunate setback came in 2019, when a lack of resources forced it to temporarily shut down. A campaign by the White Feather Foundation, however, enabled Studio Samuel to resume the course again this year. Thanks to donors like you, the course has even been able to expand, with 190 girls signed up this year to learn how to protect their and their families’ health.
Still, though, there is much left to be done. See the list below to learn what kind of difference your donation, however large or small, can make for these girls.
$10 Gives one menstrual kit
$20 Gives safe R/T transport to school for two girls
$40 Provides tutoring for 20 girls
$75 Restocks our clinic supplies
$150 Provides classroom materials
To protect the privacy of our students and families, images and/or personal details are modified. Thank you for understanding.