The HIV/AIDS Care and Support Unit has organized a training workshop for 15 HIV/AIDS orphans at the Center for Encouraging Caring and Supporting HIV People Sierra Leone (CECSHIP S/L) office in Kenema.
In his opening statement, Arnold Macauley a facilitator for HIV/AIDs said that the motive for the workshop is to empower HIV/AIDS orphans to be self-reliant, adding that orphans have expressed their desire to engage themselves in petty trading. Mr. Macauley disclosed that the programme is funded by Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis from the national umbrella of the National AIDS Secretariat (NAS) so that they will not depend on donor support.
He maintained that they will provide them with training on procedures for them to be efficient in their business adventures. Mr. Macauley disclosed that, at the end of the training, participants would receive funds and startup kits to start their businesses. He said the programme is not a profit-making project but is meant to enable participants to stand on their own.
Mr. Macauley appealed to the general public to desist from stigmatizing people with HIV/AIDS, as stigma “will kill potential people in the society.” In his contribution, founder of CECSHIP George Massaquoi says CECSHIP was formed to fight against stigmatization and support people living with HIV.
He noted that the organization which initially started with two affected persons now has about 217 orphans and vulnerable children. The stated number of people at the center, he added, was identified through home visitations and therefore called on those living with HIV to be doing their tests regularly in order to know their status and hence receive support.
Mr. Massaquoi extended his appreciation to GOLD IRELAND, UNAIDS, NMJD, UNFPA, National AIDS Secretariat (NAS) and CARITAS for their various support and assistance to CECSHIP.