The Thursday, November 28th saw the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the world’s largest non-profit HIV health provider offering medical care and services to more than 1 million patients in 42 countries worldwide, hosting 250 children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS who receive services at AHF’s Ithembalabantu Clinic in Umlazi, at Ushaka Marine World.
It was an early start for the children who departed by bus from the Ithembalabantu Clinic in Umlazi at 07h30. The days’ excitement started as each child was presented with a breakfast pack, sponsored by Corner Bakery, who with over 430 stores nationwide is South Africa’s largest franchise.
On arrival at uShaka Marine World, the children visited the aquarium and then attended the dolphin show and were later treated to lunch, also sponsored by Corner Bakery. After lunch, the children braved the elements on a cold and windy day, to swim and enjoy the Wet n Wild Park.
“This is a day of true childhood joy. For the children, to just be children, free from the burdens of their daily lives,” says Larissa Klazinga, Regional Policy and Advocacy Manager, AHF South Africa.
In celebration of reaching the milestone of one million patients in care worldwide and World Aids Day’s 30th Anniversary, the children enjoyed a specially baked cake, which was cut by Sherry Zalika Sykes, American Consul General, Diana Hoorzuk, AHF Global Vice Chair Terri Ford, AHF Chief of Global Advocacy & Policy and Hilary Thulare, AHF South Africa, Country Programme Director.
On departure, the children all received a backpack which included a book sponsor by Bargain Books, toiletries, a soft toy for the smaller children and a Bluetooth speaker for the teenagers. The girls also received sanitary towels to encourage them to attend school on a daily basis.
“While this was a day of fun, there is also an underlying campaign of awareness. HIV is a treatable disease, although very serious, you can live a very healthy and productive life with the right care and medication’ says Hilary Thulare.