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Bethany AIDS Clinic – Bujumbura

This is a unique care and counselling project which provides practical and emotional support to people living with HIV/AIDS. The clinic offers education, advice and home visits, as well as medical costs for secondary illnesses, to anybody who has HIV/AIDS and who wishes to attend the clinic.

Through a self-help programme, HIV/AIDS patients work within the community to help others infected with the virus. This builds the patients’ self-esteem and also helps to break down barriers and misconceptions related to the illness.

The project is also a support to affected families and provides assistance with school materials for children in families where AIDS has caused acute financial problems. Medical and schooling costs of 50 children who have been orphaned from AIDS are currently being covered by the project. The orphans, some of whom are themselves HIV positive, have been placed with families who care for them. 182 children living with HIV/AIDS receive clothes, uniforms and other school materials so that they are also able to attend school.

In addition to this, the clinic runs a micro-credit facility so that patients can generate an income towards supporting themselves. The majority of work done using the credit scheme involves trading from rural areas to urban markets or tailoring. This scheme is proving to be vital for people living with HIV/AIDS since their illness can leave them unable to work and therefore prevented from supporting their family and children. With the money they earn, beneficiaries are able to pay for essentials, such as food and house rent, as well as ensuring that their children are able to continue with their education.

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