Help Sophia.

This is Sophia Njagi, she is 47 years old.  Sophia has been a dedicated member of Living Positive Kenya and attending LPK’s support groups for the past 5 years.  Sophia has been living with HIV for 7 years now.  While fighting HIV, she’s also been a strong and a dedicated mother to her wonderful kids: Moses and Elizabeth.  Moses and Elizabeth both excel in school; Moses is at University, while Elizabeth is making her way through High School.  Sophia has been the cook at the Living Positive Kenya Intern House for the last 2 years.  Aside from her famous samosas, interns from around the world have raved about her caring, loving, and sweet soul. Sophia has a smile that lights up the room and takes her work very seriously.

Last month, doctors found a cancerous tumor in Sophia’s leg.  LPK was able to raise $230 to help Sophia through her first surgery.  Although Sophia was in a lot of pain, she came to work and kept her beautiful smile and great attitude. The doctors, as well as Sophia, believed the first surgery had done removed the cancer.  However, a few weeks later on a check up, the doctors found that the area was still cancerous.  Sophia, as well as the staff, women, and interns of LPK were struck very hard by this news. Sophia is a part of our family and it has been tough on everyone to learn about her cancer and her pain. This time, Sophia’s treatment to combat the cancer, will cost about $600. We ask all of our friends and family to help us raise the money for her surgery. Please help us to share Sophia’s story and to help this amazing women fight cancer.

Donations are welcomed:

Thank you,

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The Living Positive Experience

Joanna Newcome was an intern at Living Positive, and this is her experience.

While my time with Living Positive may have been short, the lessons and memories I have gained are gifts that will forever keep giving. The ladies of the program are a true testament that HIV does not have to be a life sentence. They are living proof that when given a chance, success can be a reality. Mary gave me some very poignant advice while at LPK, “Never do anything you don’t enjoy.” While at Living Positive, I learned what I truly enjoy: putting smiles on people’s faces! I may not understand Kswahili, but I will always understand the meaning of a smile. I pray the strong, warm hearted, talented women of Living Positive keep on fighting, striving, but most importantly smiling! I can’t wait to return and see their continued growth.

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Children in urgent need of sponsors

The following children listed below were chosen as top priority cases. Their level of need is based on familial income, mother’s ability to work, and their age.

Typical Houses of Mud (forefront) and Iron Sheet (background) in the Kibara Slum

The condition of living for the majority of these children includes a house made of iron sheet or mud walls with a dirt or cement floor. The houses normally do not have electricity nor are the houses owned by the family. Beds are shared amongst the family and going a night without eating has become more of a devastating weekly routine than a once in a lifetime hardship.

Jane Wanjiro, WEEP Class Participant

The children of the WEEP participants are prioritized for sponsorship because these women aren’t able to work while being required to come to class every day. As a priority of the WEEP program, we strive to relieve financial stresses of our women in order to develop their confidence and determination while in

The children of the WEEP participants are prioritized for sponsorship because these women aren’t able to work while being required to come to class every day. As a priority of the WEEP program, we strive to relieve financial stresses of our women in order to develop their confidence and determination while in the program. One of the heaviest financial stresses these women face is putting their children through school.

Women who are extremely ill are too weak and normally bed ridden to work to support their family. Their children are also prioritized, especially young women. The young women, usually the first born begin to feel responsible for supporting their family. They normally drop out of school and search for work. Influence of other women around her lead her to the work of prostitution. Our goal is to prevent these young women from giving up on their education and respect for their bodies. We aim to find them boarding schools where they will be protected from the negative influences in the slum.

Carol Nyokavi with her mother and younger brother

Fifteen children are chosen at a time to be displayed here on the website, while our database of OVCs consists of over 200 children. We work hard to find each one a sponsor before moving onto the next child. If you have a special request concerning a child you are interested in sponsoring that may not be listed here, please send us an email.

Within each profile you will find a picture of the child and a picture of their family. A profile consists of the child’s name, birth date, level of education, favorite color, hero, and ambition. A brief case history is also included within ever profile including their living situation at home and any important health conditions.

Mouseover to see their names and click the picture to read more about our children in urgent need of sponsorship.

Byron Kidiga                                                     Carol Nyokavi

Collins Ochola                                                   Franklin Muawara

Jane Mumbi                                                       John Ndungu

Josephine Makena                                           Nelly Muthoni

Oliver Nyaga                                                      Paul Njoronge

Scolastica Kathure                                           Agnes Mukenyi

Michael Nyamai

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HIV in children

At the end of 2009, an estimated 2.5 million children were living with HIV, and 2.3 million of these were in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 1000 children are newly infected with HIV each day.

How do children get HIV?


When conceiving a child there is a risk of the child being HIV positive if one, or both, of the parents is HIV positive.

Father-to-child transmission:

Seminal fluid carries HIV and so if the father of the child is HIV positive the baby is also at risk of having HIV.

In developed countries ‘sperm washing’ is available, which concentrates and then separates sperm from the infected seminal fluid ready for IVF. The fertilised egg is then implanted into the woman’s uterus, protecting the mother and the child from contracting HIV from the HIV positive father. This technology is not widely available in developing countries.

Mother-to-child transmission:

Mothers who are HIV positive may pass the infection on to their children via several mechanisms:

1. During pregnancy: HIV can cross the placenta into the baby’s bloodstream

– if the woman takes ARVs during the pregnancy this risk is reduced.

2. During vaginal delivery

– the risk of transmission is reduced with Caesarean section.

3. Breastfeeding (breast milk contains HIV)

– not breast-feeding eliminates this risk

If an HIV positive mother does not take ARVs during pregnancy her risk of transmitting HIV to the baby is ~ 25%, this risk can be reduced to as little as 2% with appropriate interventions (described above).

2.) OTHER:

Children can also contract HIV in the same ways that adults can (e.g. shared needles, sexual assault, etc.).

Here at LPK there are several HIV positive children, both orphans and children born to mothers on the program. Often the children are not able to progress to boarding school with their peers because they are too young to be able to take their ARV medications unsupervised. They are also at high risk of opportunistic infection due to the combination of malnutrition and HIV. These children also suffer discrimination, one young woman recounted that as a child the other children used to tease her and called her names because she had HIV.

Even children who are not HIV positive can be profoundly affected by the disease. HIV tears families apart, and many children lose both parents to HIV/AIDS and are then raised by relatives or in orphanages and foster homes.

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Last october the first WEEP (Women Economic Empowerment program) class had their graduation. The WEEP project started in 2007 thanks to HEART which sponsored 5 HIV women who wanted to learn skills to start their own businesses and improve the lifes of their families. This year finally a group of 9 women had their graduation. You can read more about the WEEP program here.

It was a long way to get here, now we have 9 more women in the class who will graduate very soon and there will be a new group every year so more HIV+ women have the opportunity to learn new skills, from tailoring to beading and baking.

Before the graduation we help the women to create a business plan to see if they are ready to leave the class. After, with the help of HEART and other sponsors and donors we try to get for each one of the women a sewing machine, move them out of the slums or any other thing that can help with their businesses and lifes.

This year a new project has started, the Ngong WEEP Alumni Finance Trust (NWAFT) to keep the WEEP Alumni bonded and to have a financial base for their businesses, it will provide to its members trainings, opportunities, follow up and business counseling.

We are very proud of how the WEEP class has grown and it is incredible to see most of our graduated women are running their own business already and how different are their lifes now.

More pictures of the graduation in our facebook.

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Children singing

This week Living Positive Kenya’s pre-school and daycare closed for holidays and our children said goodbye singing songs and praying.

More pictures of the last day on our facebook.

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Nutrition in people living with HIV/AIDS

People with HIV/AIDS have increased nutritional requirements for a number of reasons:

  1. Their immune system needs energy to fight the HIV infection

  2. To protect against opportunistic infections and to shorten the frequency and duration of these infections

  3. To enable their medications to work optimally

  4. To counteract additional nutrient losses (e.g. secondary to vomiting, diarrhoea) caused by HIV, its related conditions or medication side-effects

Thus, good nutrition is imperative for people living with HIV/AIDS who will have higher energy/caloric requirements that they had before infection.

However, many people with HIV suffer from nausea and loss of appetite, due to the disease itself, opportunistic infections or medication side-effects. As a result, their nutritional intake is often very poor. Furthermore, many experience vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation, which means that even when they do consume food it may not be effectively absorbed and utilised. Poverty exacerbates the problem further, as many can barely afford one meal a day and the most affordable foods are often nutritionally deplete.

At the W.E.E.P. (Women’s Economic & Empowerment Program) Centre, a division of Living Positive Kenya aimed at HIV positive women and their children in the slums of Ngong, nutritional seminars are held by dieticians from nearby hospitals.

These seminars start with a broad definition of the word ‘nutrition’, and invite input from the women as to what ‘nutrition’ means to them. The nutritionist then describes the way we receive nutrition, from availability and access to food, to intake, digestion, absorption, metabolism and excretion. The class goes on to examine the unique nutritional needs of people living with HIV aids and the potential barriers to achieving a healthy diet. They then talk about the food groups that comprise a balanced diet and how the women can incorporate these principles into their everyday lives. The classes are interactive and encourage the women to ask questions and express their opinions.

You can find more pictures of our trainings on facebook.

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