Preventing AIDS by Helping Children Stay in School

By Peter Sampa

December 1, 2012   |   0 comments

Peter Sampa (Zambia)

Peter Sampa, Community Mobilization and Grants Advisor, USAID/Creative RTS Zambia

“From the educationalist point of view, messages about HIV and AIDS prevention, about gender, and all health messages and motivation are “hidden in the print.” The importance of the Read to Succeed project is to teach learners how to read – if they learn how to read, they will be able to understand the messages. They will learn how to prevent HIV, how to take care of themselves, how to stop GBV, how to use the reporting and referral systems so that they can report.  But students must stay in school if they are going to learn to read – the school must provide support to the learners, and the community must support the learners. They need a supportive environment that can respond to their individual needs.

The rural communities are heavily affected by HIV – I have seen how HIV and AIDS contributes to school drop-out rates because the children have lost their parents whom they need to support them. Many children also have to take up full responsibility for their siblings as caregivers. This affects their ability to attend school – children are children. This makes them grow up fast. RTS is working to address these issues both from the root cause and the effect. By helping children stay in school, they will learn to read and will then be empowered to stay HIV-free, finish school, understand health messages, and help their future children.”

– from Peter Sampa, RTS Zambia Community Mobilization and Grants Advisor, Creative Associates International