Saving the Next Generation: Children Born Into HIV
They arrive in a world where they’re shunned, persecuted, and sentenced to a future without hope. The threat of disease and rejection chokes their potential before they’re even old enough to comprehend it. But the Rainbow Community in Nzara is changing this landscape, stopping the cycle of illness and poverty facing children born into families with HIV.
The Rainbow Community was founded by Comboni Missionary Sisters in 2004. Its purpose was to create a space where victims could be cared for away from the stigma and abandonment of society. Through healthcare, nutrition programs, and education, Rainbow raises a skilled and informed next generation. And importantly, they halt the perpetuation of HIV from parents to children for future generations.
“My appreciation goes to the Rainbow Community… who sponsored my education, gave me encouragement, care, and love.”
– Richard Tambua
RESCUING VULNERABLE CHILDREN
If left untreated, HIV impairs a child’s immune system’s ability to fight off common infections as mild as an ear infection. Children of HIV exhibit low energy, delayed growth and development, persistent fevers, enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss, and ultimately failure to thrive. They may also suffer from enlarged livers, lung infections, kidney problems, memory and concentration challenges, and develop tumors. Without treatment, they easily fall victim to hepatitis, meningitis, or pneumonia, which their bodies can’t fight off.
The Rainbow Community identifies at-risk children to connect them with treatment. They provide follow-up to ensure medicines are administered consistently. They make sure affected children receive two meals a day – a key factor to keep the child’s viral load in check.
But the organization goes beyond food programs and healthcare. Rainbow provides long term solutions. Each year, they pay for school fees for up to 400 orphans and vulnerable children from grades K-8. Some of these students go on to high school and even universities. These children would never have an opportunity like this otherwise.
RICHARD’S SUCCESS STORY
Richard Tambua’s story demonstrates Rainbow Community’s lifechanging impact, helping him escape poverty and possibly even his own death. “I am one of the beneficiaries of the Rainbow Community,” says Richard. “I am very grateful to Rainbow for who I am today.”
When he was just a small child, Richard was without hope. He faced devastating health effects of HIV. He was alone and shunned. He couldn’t go to school like other children – or ever hope to earn a living. He had no one, and his future held nothing but suffering. When Rainbow Community found him, Richard’s whole world transformed.
Rainbow connected Richard with lifesaving medical treatment. He received regular medications. He began to thrive from two meals a day. Rainbow covered Richard’s expenses so he could start going to school. Richard excelled. When he graduated from high school, he went on to Kampala International University in Uganda and earned a degree as a clinical officer.
After graduating from college, Richard returned to South Sudan to give back in his own community. He worked with the Christian Medical Missionary Board and was put in charge of a health facility in Sakure. He continues to work as a clinical officer in Basukangbi where he’s in charge of another health facility today.
“My appreciation goes to the Rainbow Community and to the Comboni Sisters who sponsored my education, gave me encouragement, care, and love,” Richard says. “I now have my own family, wife and children, and I am able to cater to their needs. Thank you to all of you who contributed to my success and happiness. God bless you.” Because of Rainbow Community, lives were changed, the cycle of sickness and poverty broken.
A COMMUNITY IN CRISIS
Sadly, this past year was especially difficult for the Rainbow Community, who was hit hard by the nation’s economic struggles. Last year an already bleak economic climate worsened due to disastrous flooding that destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. Inflation and diminished supply saw commodity prices skyrocket.
Now the Rainbow Community finds itself scrambling to maintain critical activities, including food and nutrition programs children depend on, and jeopardizing their ability to keep children in school.
Will you help the Rainbow Community continue to save vulnerable children? This group stands alone to help children struggling in impossible circumstances – circumstances that were thrust on them as innocent victims, creating obstacles they can’t overcome without help.
Your gift will rescue children from lives of poverty and illness, instead giving them healthcare, education, and opportunity. Like Richard’s future that was transformed by the Rainbow Community, your help will change a child’s life forever.
Sincerely,Neil A. Corkery President
PS – Please send a gift to help children supported by the Rainbow Community. Abandoned and rejected, these children have nowhere else to go for help. Tragic flooding and oppressive economic conditions threaten to prevent this wonderful group from being able to care for these forgotten children. Every child deserves a chance.