Isolation along with depression and anxiety have consistently been one of the biggest challenges faced by the parents and families living with HIV we support. Where the current Carona Virus crisis is amplifying isolation and anxiety around health, we are prioritising regular phone calls to, checking in to listen and encourage and respond to needs arising where possible. Long-term relational support has always been at the heart of our work, and we can continue to offer this to families through phone calls.
“Thank you so much for ringing to check how we are,
I am trying my best, it is hard with the limits to the environment, we live in a 2nd floor flat. When I am down, I look at my children, and I have to stay strong for them”.
As other needs come to light, through regular checks in, we are doing our best to respond either directly or liaising with other services. This week that has included
Advocacy for a family where local authority informed her she had to move by the end of the week, due to rent being high, despite her child being ill with COVID symptoms and government guidelines about not moving. She has a reprieve.
Sourcing curtains and rails for a family who are living on the ground floor on a housing estate (to be delivered early next week) where girl is anxious about the people peering in, and they are sitting in the dark in the evenings. They have no flooring, and the only furniture is the beds. A stark reminder that so many will not be self-isolating in comfortable well resourced homes.
One of our amazing volunteers accompanying one of our teenagers to an emergency MRI and hospital apt at Great Ormond Street, as her older guardian is needing to remain at home due to age and health vulnerabilities. “I relaxed when I knew it was Vol F who could help, because I can trust her with B like it was myself going, because she has taken B on so many outings over the years”.
Other families face food and resources poverty, exacerbated by the current situation. We have been delivering a box of essentials to families in need, checking in weekly to respond to needs arising. Boxes include fresh fruit and veg, milk, eggs, bread, along with requested items. For some of our families with no recourse to public funds, and not being able to work, will be in need of regular support, and others in need of one off support while self-isolating as a single parents, some with very small children. We are also helping people with logistics of trying to access online food deliveries or use food vouchers from schools. Maintaining a healthy diet is particularly important for people living with HIV, to boost the immune system, help fight infection and help with antiretroviral medications, so we are also prioritising fruit and vegetables, which we are able to source from our local market.
“So grateful she has been really kind,
shopping and bringing us food and fruits.”
“Honestly, may God bless you, only you people have been there for me all these years. Thank you so much everything I needed was there”.
The challenge to stimulate children at home, where environment and resources may be minimal is not easy. We have been able to share small resources e.g. games / craft materials with a couple of families when dropping off food. We are exploring how we can contribute helpfully to supporting families with activities or the resources they need to help stimulate or with home education.
“Thank you so much for the provisions and the craft box, the kids and I are so happy and grateful. The craft box has kept her busy, and she even made me a mother’s day card”.
Faced by needs that at times can seem overwhelming, while we are limited by lockdown, we will continue to offer what we have as individuals and a charity and invite you to partner with us, by sponsoring a food delivery or if you are part of our team, helping us to shop and deliver food as needs arise.