Thursday, February 28, 2008

Climbers needed to save lives

The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) and the American Alpine Institute are teaming up again to host Climb Up So Kids Can Grow Up. The global climb-a-thon will increase awareness of the pediatric AIDS pandemic and raise funds for life-saving anti-retroviral (ARV) medication, food, and medical and humanitarian supplies to children affected by HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Hikers, cyclists, climbers, and runners of all ages and skill levels around the globe will participate in Climb Up So Kids Can Grow Up on September 20 and/or 21, 2008. Participants can climb, hike, run or cycle up the structure of their choice, anywhere in the world.

The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) is a not-for-profit foundation providing medical supplies and aid to children in countries hardest hit by HIV/AIDS including Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The sub-Saharan region of Africa is the worst affected by the pediatric AIDS pandemic with more than two million children under the age of 15 living with HIV.
Last year’s climb-a-thon was AFCA’s first and raised over $15,000. “Our goal is to at least double that this year,” said Tanya Weaver, AFCA’s Executive Director. “This year the need is even greater because of the crisis in Kenya, which has made it even more difficult to get medicine and supplies to the children.

“Everyone can ensure that hundreds of children live longer, healthier lives simply by organizing a team wherever you are and climbing up, whether by cycling, running, hiking, or climbing. The important thing is to get the nation and the world moving to help these children.” Weaver noted that all contributions are tax-deductible.

Many leading outdoor and other companies support Climb Up So Kids Can Grow including National Geographic Adventure Magazine, Women’s Adventure Magazine, Skyline Marketing, The River Inn, Chubasco, MadRock, Black Diamond, Petzl, LARABAR, CerconeBrownCurtis and KG Communications.

For more information on registering, forming a team or sponsorship, please go to

Friday, February 22, 2008

Save Children While Saving the Planet

An easy way to make a difference to both the children we serve and our planet is to recycle through Contact Planet Green and they will send you recycling boxes and pre-paid shipping labels. Then, simply recycle old cell phones and used ink cartridges, pack them up and sent them to Planet Green, indicating on their packing slip that the proceeds check should be sent to AFCA at 6221 Blue Grass Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17112.

See? Easy and no cost to you...but we help keep the earth a bit cleaner and we save the lives of children affected by AIDS!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Update from our partner in Kenya

It is now 4 weeks since I returned to Kenya after the Christmas break, and it feels like I have lived a lifetime in those short weeks. I want to write, but I am having a hard time choosing what to write about to give a true image of this country. If I say it is a beautiful country with lovely people who are hard working and reserved, then how do I explain the last 6 weeks? Most Kenyans are also trying to explain the last 6 weeks. There is a lot of depression here and pain, as people ask themselves what happened.

Most of the clashes (as they are referred to) have stopped, but in some areas verbal threatening continues and people are still terrified. The peace talks continue, but it is like Nairobi is a million miles away and out of touch with the rest of the country which has people living all over the place or traveling the roads to find what they perceive to be a safe place.

Two days ago about 200 displaced Kikuyus moved just down the road from us onto some land loaned to them by a fellow Kikuyu. They have absolutely nothing but the loan of this land for temporary shelters. No water or food, no shelter, no clothes but what’s on their backs. The men organized themselves and half have gone looking for work, while the other half have found pieces of wood and trees and someone bought some tin for roofing and they are erecting little shacks for temporary shelter. My taxi driver from Gilgil who drives me locally is a Kikuyu, so I asked him to try overnight to mobilize the Kikuyu taxi and lorry drivers in Gilgil to help these people.

This morning I found myself in Gilgil with these guys organizing them to provide what these displaced people need most besides shelter—water. By noon, we had delivered wood to build 4 platforms which we needed to place 4 water tanks on, and had a fundi (skilled laborer) actually building the platforms. They’ll be finished tomorrow morning , then we place the tanks (with taps) on the platforms and get a water truck to fill them. The town stores also provided Jerry cans so that the women can take water from the tanks back to their individual family areas. We also brought them enough maize and beans for a few days. At staff assembly this morning, I appealed for clothes and household items to be left at my apartment door, and when I returned, I could hardly get in because of the bags of stuff waiting. I have called the taxi drivers and they will come and pick it all up and deliver it.

Early tomorrow morning I go with Dr. Wangai, one of our young physicians, to speak with the Provincial Medical Officer for Rift Valley. Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) are running a clinic in a displaced persons camp in the Nakuru Stadium and are interested in sending us medical/surgical referrals. We have raised some money to pay for free medical care for several hundred displaced persons, and negotiated with St. John’s Ambulance (sound familiar ?) to transport them the 30 km to St. Mary’s. Normally, the referrals would go to nearby government hospitals, but they are totally overloaded. We’ll see what he says.

Several weeks ago I journeyed to Eldoret and KaKamega with a police escort to retrieve 8 orphans who were stranded there after Christmas break and needed help. Three were from our orphanage high school at St. Mary’s in Nairobi, and 5 from St. Therese orphanage next door here at Elementita. I went for 8 kids and only came back with 7, and it has bothered me ever since.

Little Delvin (girl), age 8, was with relatives, but when we went to pick her up, the house had been burned and neighbors could only tell us the general direction they’d run in. There was nothing I could do with 7 other kids to worry about. I listed her as missing with the police, but the countryside around there is in turmoil so I knew they’d never find her.

Last Sunday I went back to the Eldoret area, and with a helpful social worker who works with the police we started retracing her possible routes. We started at 6 a.m. and found her in a slum in Eldoret at 2:30 p.m. with a relative. She was out of medication, and her kidneys were shutting down. She kept asking about her friend Anne from the orphanage. They are reunited now, and Delvin has already improved considerably. There are days when I can’t believe this is all real and what I’m doing.

Friday, February 15, 2008

American Foundation for Children with AIDS Increases Aid in Response to Kenyan Crisis

Harrisburg, PA (February 12, 2008) – The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA), a not-for-profit foundation providing medical supplies and aid to children in countries hardest hit by HIV/AIDS, is increasing its efforts in Kenya in response to the growing need resulting from the current unrest.

AFCA is sending additional supplies to children and adults, including those who are currently staying in camps for displaced people. It is estimated that over 300,000 children and adults have been displaced as a result of their homes being burned. They are forced to sleep in churches, parks and on the streets. Children with HIV/AIDS are at increased risk because they may not have access to their medication.

“We receive daily reports from our partners in Kenya and are deeply concerned about the increased risk facing the children with HIV/AIDS whom we serve,” said AFCA Executive Director Tanya Weaver. AFCA is working with the Archdiocese of Mombasa Community Based Heath Care and AIDS Relief Program, which serves over 500,000 people in seven parishes of Mombasa.

A contribution of $30 provides a full month’s worth of life-saving medication to an HIV positive child. With $5,000, AFCA can provide a 40-foot container of much-needed food, hygiene kits, milk, and other supplies to partner hospitals.

Tax-deductible contributions can be made to AFCA and sent to 6221 Blue Grass Avenue, Harrisburg, PA, 17112, or online at

About American Foundation for Children with AIDS
American Foundation for Children with AIDS is an independent international humanitarian aid organization established in 2004. AFCA is a 501(c)(3) not–for-profit organization incorporated in the state of Florida, USA. It has been certified Best in America by the Independent Charities of America. AFCA’s mission is to improve the lives of children and youth struggling with the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We provide cost-effective relief, services, medical and social support, education and advocacy to help these individuals achieve their full life potential.

AFCA believes that true success is achieved through collaboration with qualified local professionals. To this end, we partner with the following agencies to deliver quality, donated anti retroviral medications and supplies to HIV positive children and their caretakers: Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda; Archdiocese of Mombasa in Mombasa, Kenya; Voi Children’s Health Program in Voi, Kenya; ZOE in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and St. Mary’s Mission Hospital in Nairobi and Elementita, Kenya. For more information please visit