When she arrived at the Christian Life Center Hospice Facility in Phumula, South Africa, 15-month-old Sasha was on the verge of dying. Born HIV positive, she is now living with the AIDS virus.
The hospice facility is a ministry of Christian Life Center, a local church that houses and cares for children diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. “This facility is a divine means by which God is using the church to rescue and care for His children,” said Pastor Siva Moodley, one of Willow’s Global Partners, working at the Christian Life Center.
Because of the social stigma attached to having a baby diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, Sasha and her mother, who also battles the AIDS virus, were ostracized and thrown out of their traditional rural community. They roamed the streets, often assaulted and harassed, until authorities eventually caught them living in a shopping mall and were thrown out. Day after day, Sasha’s health deteriorated because her mother couldn’t afford to feed her or provide her with the medicine she needed to survive. Knowing that her daughter needed immediate medical attention, Sasha’s mother tried to get her daughter admitted to a government-funded hospital, but was denied. Sasha was also turned away from various care facilities and orphan centers because doctors said her chances of surviving were considered hopeless—until she arrived at the hospice facility.
The Christian Life Center has given Sasha a second chance at life.
“The hospice program is able to provide Sasha a haven of hope that will provide comfort, care, and security,” said Siva. While Sasha’s health is still critical, she is now able to consume solid food and is no longer in constant pain. “The pain and anguish on her face has disappeared and is now replaced with a constant smile,” said Siva.
Sasha receives professional medical attention, has started a new ARV treatment, and has a housemother, Gogo (Granny), who provides-round-the-clock care for her. Her quality of life has greatly improved. “We believe that God will heal Sasha and that she will someday live a normal life,” said Siva.
Role of Willow members
The Christian Life Center is able to help children like Sasha because of ongoing support from Willow members—support that comes in the form of prayers, resources, and volunteerism.
The hospice program has expanded and now includes a new building that will be able to house and care for 12 children, as opposed to 6. The new building is in need of modern medical equipment, medically approved furnishings, a professional nurse and two nursing assistants, Willow volunteers to train housemothers and the medical staff, as well as food, clothing, and linens. This new building will ensure children like Sasha receive the love and care they need and deserve.
If you are interested in working collaboratively with other professionals to enhance and support Willow’s global partners like Christian Life Center, consider joining one of Global Ministry’s Community Development Advocate Teams. These teams exist to equip global partners with resources and help them meet the needs of their local communities through development initiatives. CDA teams will meet at the Global Ministry Gathering at Willow Creek from 6-8 p.m., January 21, in Blue Sky 1.