When Peter first found out he had HIV, he thought all hope for
the future was lost. He was 13 years old, he had been infected
since he was born, and now he said, "there is nothing for me but
Through the AMPATH care
program in Kenya, 15,000 children receive HIV care and
medicines that keep them alive and healthy and growing into
adulthood. But they need hope too.
Peter found that hope in a support group at his clinic that was
just for kids like him:
"The group became my family," he said. "The only place
where people understood the burden I was carrying, the only place
where I had friends who believed that I could go far, that I could
We want to offer monthly peer support groups at each of the
AMPATH clinics in Kenya for adolescents just like Peter - older
children and youth who have learned that they have HIV. These groups
change children's lives by offering a safe place to talk, build
friendships, and learn how to cope with their illness.
I really, really, really want to offer support groups for my
kids in Kenya. They need them and want them desperately. They
deserve a safe space in which to be together in this crazy,
beautiful, daily struggle to grow up with HIV. I have been very
frustrated by my lack of time and money to make this happen for
them. But -- thankfully -- I have friends who want to stand in the
gap for my kids and help give kids like Peter a place to find hope.
I write this in the hope that you might want to join in too.
Here are our brilliant plans...
I carried across the ocean some lovely items from Kenya. If you
purchase Hadithi Handicrafts - made by hand by Kenyan artisans,
many of whom have HIV themselves - we can start to build up what we
need to make these groups happen for the HIV-infected children at
our clinics. A clinic needs at least $1,000 per year to run
the groups that offer their kids a place to find hope for the
future. I am hoping we can do that together.
"Hadithi" means "story" in Kiswahili. Our crafts have a
story - they make it possible for Kenyan children to understand how
HIV is just one part of the story of who they are and who they will
Carroll is selling hand-beaded leather sandals and beads shaped
by hand from Kenyan clay and fired in lovely colors. If you are
interested, contact her about the Hadithi Handicrafts. We can even
have made items in the sizes and colors that you prefer.
- (Yes, I seem to be the daily model for
our beads. Look how versatile they are!)
And we have an option for men too! The dapper Dom Draper is
spear-heading #ThePocketSquareProject with bright
kitenge pocket squares for the well-dressed gentleman. What is more
fun in men's fashion than a colorful pouf of a pocket square in
your jacket pocket? (Ok, I am also a big fan of the bow tie, but
we'll start with pocket squares for now.) Fun squares of crazy and
colorful Kenyan fabrics. If you aspire to join
#ThePocketSquareProject, talk to Dom.
All proceeds from any Hadithi Handicrafts we sell go directly to
supporting AMPATH support groups for adolescents with HIV in Kenya.
You can also donate at ampathkenya.org/donate and
indicate "Vreeman Hadithi" or "The Pocket Square Project" in the
memo or comment section.
You can help us give our kids in Kenya hope -- and a home. You
can help our kids go far.