I had the privilege of speaking at the United Nations’ Women Global Coalition on HIV/AIDS and I wanted to share this experience with you. I’ve included the video of my speech (at the bottom of this post) and am sharing my complete transcript below. Today, I ask that you take a pledge to fight AIDS. Join me and Keep a Child Alive by taking the pledge.
The women of the world know what to do. And they do it. They would do more if they had equal rights and weren’t discriminated against. That is what we need to fix more than anything in our world. With my organization, Keep a Child Alive, we put the trust directly in the people on the ground, who are extremely capable to run these programs but lack the funding, medicines and health care professionals.
If we show to the next generation of men and women affected by the AIDS pandemic that we care by providing the necessary resources of universal treatment that doesn’t end, doctors and nurses, food programs, micro-loan opportunities — this will empower them to live their dreams. And stop the pandemic in its tracks.
We believe that, with AIDS treatment, anything is possible. We watch people become reborn with treatment. And I’ve seen it myself! At our clinic in Uganda, ALIVE Medical Services, a father came in one day, his name is Bashir, unable to walk and on his deathbed. He had seven children at home. Within one month of ARV therapy and food parcels from our ALIVE clinic — Bashir looked like a new man and over the past year, his health has restored to a level where he is actually a father again.
With the help of a small loan from us, he opened a boda-boda spare parts shop not far from the main road to Jinja. With funds from the shop, he is now able to send all seven of his school-aged children to school. That is empowerment. He can care for his family and contribute to his community because he is healthy. Without effective treatment, his seven girl children would have lost their father and their outcome would have been painful at best.
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