Drafted by Soror Jasmine White & Submitted by: Sorors Nomhle Canca & Debra Townes
Reflection, Celebration, Rejuvenation: Living Positively with HIV- The Fight Continues
To commemorate World AIDS Day 2022, members of the Southern Africa Alumnae Chapter (SAAC) planned an outreach event and holiday party with youth at the Lambano Sanctuary in Germiston, South Africa. Founded in 2001, Lambano Sanctuary is a registered residential care and support facility for orphaned and vulnerable children living with HIV. Many of the children supported by Lambano were among the first children in South Africa to receive antiretroviral (ARVs) to support viral load suppression and manage their HIV infection.
Under the sub-theme “Living Positive with HIV, the Fight Continues” with the National theme of “Reflection, Celebration and Rejuvenation”, SAAC members spent the day engaging with Lambano Sanctuary leadership and staff and their decades of work supporting children living with HIV. In response to a Christmas wish from the children, Sorors also presented gifts and hosted a KFC lunch. The Chapter’s (IAI) Co-Chair, Nomhle Canca, noted that before the chapter’s chartering in 2021, sorors living in Johannesburg often volunteered at Lambano. Further, Soror Canca stated that SAAC’s relationship with Lambano has deepened as SAAC can now more formally organize activities to support the facility under the sorority’s IAI Programmatic Thrust. The chapter determined that it need to update the donor communities on how ARVs has enhanced lives and eased the social impact of their chronic condition on them, their communities and families as well as the urgent need to refund ARV support programs given the recent diversion of resources to address the pandemic.
For many sorors, the interactive dialogue between SAAC members and the 17 youth living at Lambano was inspiring. The group discussed the importance of World AIDS Day for both those living with HIV and those not infected. The youth discussed their dreams about the future and how they can pay it forward to and show gratitude for the love and support from Lambano Sanctuary.
In a separate World AIDS Day 2022 observation, SAAC partnered with Las Vegas Alumnae on Dec. 3 for a webinar with HIV/AIDS experts, activists, and survivors from across Southern Africa and the United States. SAAC member Dr. Dorotha Love Hall provided the keynote address. She highlighted Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s work with communities over the years helping people with HIV/AIDS to live longer and healthier lives. On both sides of the ocean, newborns with HIV in South Africa & USA in 2000’s faced complex social and economic challenges. The tight knit communities that embraced them have successfully filled the gaps of their unfortunate beginnings
Recognizing the outsized impact, the HIV epidemic has had across our service area, SAAC is committed to developing lasting collaborations with regional health and community partners continue protecting the most vulnerable and reversing the impact of the HIV epidemic in Southern Africa.