For 18 years, we, the Actionplus Foundation, have worked hard to fulfil our vision that those affected by HIV should not experience poverty, ill health and prejudice. Exploring ways we could further our impact we decided we’d like to create an empowerment centre, a place for education, health checks, support, and enjoyment.
Lewisham, with the 8th highest rate of HIV in London (8.2 in 1,000 residents), is a great place to open the first empowerment centre, enabling us to host a variety of services to people who live in Lewisham, Lambeth, Southwark and beyond.
An empowerment centre could not come at a more important time; it is estimated that one in five people in London with HIV do not know that they have it. With your pledges, regardless of size, we can change the lives of those with HIV in Lewisham, and also those at risk.
What we'll deliver:
- Host regular empowerment workshops for those with HIV/Aids
- Train 10 young people as peer educators and HIV ambassadors
- Offer anonymous HIV testing twice a month
- Run bi-weekly support sessions
Why it's a great idea:
The silence around HIV is the biggest threat of all. Creating an empowerment centre in the heart of Lewisham will generate more discourse in itself, as well as making it more convenient for people to seek out support.
Also, by training young people to be peer support educators we will be creating a sustainable and self-proliferating approach to tackling the spread of HIV in the borough. Getting more people talking about HIV will work to diminish the stigma that currently exists around living with HIV.
Many people living with HIV were thrown out of church because of their status and stigma attached to HIV. The empowerment centre will be a place open to all, religious and non-religious, offering a secure place free from stigmatisation, offering counselling and other support.
Steps to get it done:
- Recruit volunteers to support our programmes
- Train young people as HIV educators and mentors
- Use our experienced staff to continue delivering invaluable projects in the borough and beyond
- Secure bi-weekly room lease for regular events
Actionplus has an 18 year track record of delivering successful HIV projects here in the UK and in Africa. Through our Take Action Now Project, many pastors have developed an understanding about HIV and are opening their church doors for the purpose of HIV testing, something that was not happening before.
So far we have been able to achieve a great deal on our own. However we need your help so we can scale-up our work to the level it needs to be at in order to see HIV rates go down.
With our passion and your pledges we know we can empower those with HIV in Lewisham.