Adopt the red ribbon

  • Where: ASMARA, ERITREA
  • What we do: ECONOMIC, PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT
  • For whom: 96 HIV POSITIVE PEOPLE
  • What you can do: DONATE 10€ A MONTH

Title of the project

Adopt the red ribbon

Place of the action

Asmara, Eritrea

Description of the context

Eritrea is one of the poorest countries in the world; however, Eritrean Government has launched for many years awareness campaigns on HIV infection. Although important results have been achieved, many people who were infected cannot take an appropriate antiretroviral therapy.
Health care facilities are insufficient and famine is still an issue in Eritrea. Most of the people HIV positive feel desperate and alone: they do not see a bright future coming. There have been many attempts of suicide. Children and young people who live this situation are showing strong signs of discomfort and suffering.
Many families are part of an association of people with HIV / AIDS were founded in Eritrea: however, due to insufficient public support and funding, people with HIV are now obliged to request help to religious congregations and support to the local communities which are active in Asmara.
Annulliamo la Distanza supports families composed by one or more members affected by HIV / AIDS, in situations of extreme poverty, in collaboration with the Community of Ghezabanda, the city’s district. Since the second half of 2018, the number of family units has increased to 59 with a total of 139 boys and girls; unfortunately, their parents have transmitted the HIV virus to them.
These families are very poor and roughly each family has about 4/5 children: in most cases the women are alone because husbands have already died due to the infection. They come from the poorest areas of Eritrean villages. Once a month AnlaDi provides personal care products and food, such as milk powder. The community women assist them, in cooperation with professional nurses of the Asmara Hospital, not only with drugs and food but also ‘psychologically’ with support groups. However, these families still need a lot of help: food, hygiene products,specific therapies, food, and suport for paying the house rent. The rent of the house is indeed one issue both for families living in Asmara city centre or in the suburbs as well as in the villages. The houses are about 12/15 square meters: they are not paved and wothout door ( there is a curtain). Isnide the house, there is a double or single bed, a small table, chairs or stools, bags like a wardrobe, a plastic barrel for water, a small stove for cooking. On the crumbling walls, there are sometimes pieces of colored cloth in the vain attempt to make the house a cheerful place. The roof consists in a sheet metal. If exisiting, the toilet is located outside and also serves the neighbors. The rental is approximately of NK400: if you do not pay, the owner of the house can immediately evict you.

The project

The main objectives of the project are :

1) Support to the families by sustaining local community for the purchase of food, drugs, paying the rent, etc. (EUR 13,000 a year)

2) Training to the community women and volunteers for better providing psychological support and specific training on HIV and AIDS. The trainers are psychologists and medical doctors belonging to Annulliamo la Distanza. (3000 euro)

3) Emergency fund (2000 Euro).

Achieved results

For what concern the direct assistance to families, in 2020, there was no monitoring mission due to Coronavirus pandemic. In any case, thanks to the partnership with the Ursuline nuns of Asmara, each family received funds for their livelihood. From the numerous telephone calls held during the year, the last one in November, a rather heavy situation emerges due to the long lockdown that also limits internal trade throughout Eritrea. This situation heavily affects these families both from a psychological point of view for the isolation to which they are subject and for their sustenance. As for hat concerns the construction of the chicken coop, following the request of the families to build a chicken farm, as a possibility of income through the sale of eggs and chickens at the local market, the sum of € 3000 was sent as a contribution to support this initiative. Unfortunately, the construction of the chicken coop was blocked due to the lockdown in Eritrea, which is still in force, due to the impossibility of obtaining construction material.