CHIVA is committed to transforming the precious, vulnerable lives of children and adolescents living with and exposed to HIV.
One of these is little Sifiso and this is how we helped empower the healthcare workers as they cared for Sifiso on his journey from being neglected and dying, to thriving and attending school for the first time!
Sifiso was born to teenage parents and since they were unable to look after him, he was abandoned in the care of his grandmother who was looking after 3 other grandchildren. There was only one source of steady income, a monthly child grant which was only a mere R1 070/£ 54. His grandmother did what she could to find piecemeal jobs to provide for her grandchildren, but as you can imagine, this was hardly enough to cover the family’s basic needs.
In May of 2022, Sifiso was admitted to a rurally based hospital, neglected, and dying. He weighed a mere 17 kgs, is HIV positive, and on ARV treatment but to everyone’s dismay, he was failing to thrive.
Sifiso was slowly deteriorating over time. He was weak and stunted, losing weight, and the HIV was increasing, but the hospital staff would not give up on little Sifiso. Together with the CHIVA team, they were able to put together a treatment and care plan for him. With no family taking responsibility or willing to care for Sifiso – everyone was worried about little Sifiso’s future.
Sifiso’s challenges did not end there and in early October, Sifiso had to face another hurdle – he tested positive for TB. The hospital quickly started him on TB medication with CHIVA, the healthcare, and social workers continuing to provide the clinical and psychosocial support that was desperately needed. Sifiso kept fighting and slowly, his health started to improve, but we knew he needed to be placed in a warm, caring environment that would be able to support his needs in the long run. Luckily, we were able to find such a place and by November, he was placed in a local children’s home where he would get the love and care he needed to transform his life.
Now, little Sifiso is thriving – he has made new friends he calls his family and is very excited about what his future has to hold. 2023 brought a new, but exciting, challenge to Sifiso’s life – he is well enough to be given the gift of education and has officially started Grade 1 for the first time! Sifiso is now able to look forward to a long and healthy life and a future full of hope and opportunities!
*Name changed to protect the child’s identity