2005-07-10-Charity makes HIV education vow

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2005-07-10-Charity makes HIV education vow


A Kent charity which has been working to educate people in Kenya about HIV/Aids is aiming to reach 45,000 more youngsters in the next two years.

International Care and Relief, based in Tunbridge Wells, has so far reached 20,000 young Africans.

It receives help from the Big Lottery Fund, and last year raised a total of more than £1.7m, including donations from runners in the London Marathon.

The charity also provides financial help for schools in Kenya and Uganda.

The BBC's South East Today travelled to Kenya to see some of its work.

Maina village, in Lakipia district, is home to 30,000 people - about a quarter of whom have HIV/Aids.

Local teenager Deborah has been trained as a youth worker to pass on knowledge about safe sex and HIV.

She said many people in the villages did not know how to protect themselves from HIV.

"They did not know how HIV occurs, that is the problem," she said.

Free HIV testing is available in the district but the virus is continuing to spread, partly because of the lack of sex education and because people are scared that if they test positive they will become outcasts.

One woman who has the virus, Rayhab, said she had been persecuted by her neighbours.

"I face a lot of problems - people may pick a quarrel or they even threaten to beat me up," she said.

The charity trains teenagers such as Deborah so they can pass on information to their friends rather than having adults issue instructions.

 


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