In Tanzania is Iringa one of the regions that is most affected by HIV/AIDS. vivo international supports the St. Dominic Savio Primary School, a project supporting orphans due to HIV in Iringa. The primary school teaches about 1000 children, of which 15% to 20% have lost at least one parent. The orphans live with relatives, in foster families or in the St. Monica’s House, the orphanage of the school.
In spring 2012, a team from vivo international started a large-scale survey on the psychological health of children at the primary school. They found that a substantial number of children, especially of the orphans, was affected by the loss of their parents and the current living situation. Domestic violence, neglect, and corporal punishment affected these children severely. School achievement was negatively influenced by their adverse experiences and their psychological problems.
In order to help the affected children vivo international and the St. Dominic Savio Primary School based a permanent school counsellor at the school. She offers psychological support for all children of the school since May 2012. At the same time she collaborates closely with the teachers to help affected children systematically. Her main focus lies on the work with the orphans. She visits the children in foster families and works closely together with the St. Monica’s House as well as other orphan care centres. Additionally, she offers workshops to teachers, caretakers and parents to raise awareness about the psychological well-being of children and non-violent caretaking. The first two years of the school counsellor were very successful, she could support many children and also engage teachers and caretakers in working together! With the engagement of vivo international the psychological suffering of the children is now taken seriously and psychological support can be offered. We are looking for donors to support the project so that the school counsellor can continue her successful work.