HUYE — The Association for the Welfare of Families (ARBEF) has embarked on a campaign to sensitise children heading families and those living with HIV/Aids on how to raise their siblings, with particular bias on issues to do with sexuality.
According to ARBEF coordinator in the Southern Province Jeanne Nyirakamana, there is need to fill the gap left by their deceased parents.
“We realised that these children play roles that are over and above their capacity to handle.
That is why we had to step in and give children heading these families a few tips on how to talk about issues of sexuality and reproductive health to their siblings,” said Nyirakamana. According to Nyirakamana, there are a number of children heading families who are living with HIV/Aids.
“As part of our activities, we have carried out HIV testing in child-headed families and results show that a number of them are infected.
With assistance from our partners, we have helped these children access ARVs and any other treatment necessary to cure opportunistic infections,” said Nyirakamana.
ARBEF also organized several dance and drama competitions in all the 37 sectors that will culminate in competitions at the provincial level.
Nyirakamana believes that the strategy to use drama through which to pass the message on reproductive health is appropriate for the youth.
“We did not want to burden these children with seminars but encouraged them to develop plays, songs, dances and recitations based on the theme;
‘The right to good reproductive health for children heading families and those living with HIV/Aids’.
The best pieces of creative art will be used to sensitise other youth,” said the ARBEF coordinator.
Nyirakamana said that family planning drive (which is part of their mission) is being largely frustrated by men and families who think that they have no role in its implementation.
“Women have revealed that their husbands are less cooperative in discussing family planning issues.
The issue of using contraceptives like a condom has met strong resistance which explains the small percentage of families embracing family planning,” said Nyirakamana.
ARBEF was founded in 1983 mainly to champion the welfare of families.
It has strongly advocated for family planning and of recent taken on the crusade against HIV/Aids.