Found this online this evening:
“We met this afternoon with Derek von Wissell, the head of NERCHA, the program created by the government in 2002 to spearhead the national response to HIV/AIDS. Derek, the former minister of finance, explained the particular complexity and urgency of eliminating AIDS in Swaziland. He stressed the critical role that (RED) consumers play in making this hope real, particularly for the 70,000 children orphaned by the disease.
Most of these kids watched their parents die. They need food, shelter, clothing and love. It is customary in Swaziland for the community to care for kids if their parents and grandmothers are lost. We will visit one of the country’s KaGoGo (‘Granny’) centers on Thursday.
Politicians and educators around the world say that children are our future. It’s almost a cliché, but it’s so true. These kids need to believe, as do all, that life holds promise for them. Even a child who has lost one or both parents, seeing other adults grow strong on ARV medicine and women delivering HIV-free babies, is a powerful message. It signals that life can go on and get better. The freedom to believe in – and to choose – a future that is healthy is available to these kids. They form a key link in NERCHA’s vision of an AIDS-free Swaziland. It is the tangible and intangible impact of Global Fund investments – underwritten by (RED) shoppers – that we want to capture on this trip.”
I had a chance to meet with Derek during my time in Swaziland also. If there’s any hope for a way forward in this awful situation it’s going to be the people of NERCHA and the stellar work that they’re doing. But they’re going to need all the support they can get from the developed world.
Read the rest here: Picture Postcard from Swaziland