We are deeply grateful to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, set up in memory of Freddie Mercury and headed by band members Roger Taylor and Brian May who have supported our work in HIV/AIDS since 1998.
Our first programme in this field was support for the children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic that was cited by UNICEF as the ideal model for community support. In those early days there was little or no understanding of the pandemic that was decimating communities. In the villages it was believed to be witchdraft and the orphaned children were believed to be bewitched and the villagers threw stones at them and chased away from their home villages.
We moved on into HIV/AIDS education taking the view that the methodology in existance at that time of focusing on adults was misplaced, as it was too late.
We therefore began our education programme in the schools, both primary and secondary reaching over 70,000 pupils annually. We were fortunate to have data on the prevalance of HIV infection in secondary school children when we began our programme from the blood donor data and our three year programme saw a reduction in that figure by 75%.
Today we continue to work with the young and sponsor football and netball teams from schools that achieve targets of enlightenment and testing.