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(there’s a german version of this post on

during this year’s project journey with laafi in burkina faso a project idea was proposed to us that contradicts quite some of our usual project criteria: the project is not located in rural areas, isn’t sustainable (at least not in the direct sense of the word), though dealing with “health” has nothing to do with “cure” and almost entirely consists of ongoing expenses, rather than being a one-time investment: an emergency accomodation for AIDS-sufferers in ougadougou, the capital of burkina faso in west africa.

the project proposal came from an association of AIDS-victims, founded exclusively by sick persons who got to know each other in the issuing office of anti-retrovir-drugs that medecins sans frontieres (MSF) operate in ouaga. with the help of these drugs they live a mostly normal live, partly years after the decease’s breakout. in burkinian society they constitue a rare exception as they publicly avow their disease, and their private and professional environment is fully informed. AIDS-cases in burkina faso often are being outcast by their families and employers and thus become home- and jobless. in front of the MSF issuing office many such homeless camp out. due to insufficient nutrition and the hygienic circumstances of homelessness they have little chance to survive the physical stress a anti-retrovir-therapy constitutes until the body tunes in. MSF itself can’t take care of them as their statute only permits ambulatory treatment.

the project idea this association approached us with is simple: a house that accomodates 30 people located near the MSF office, with one meal a day and a room for get-togethers and awareness-building measures. MSF would be responsible for selection and medical care of the patients who’s stay would end when regaining a certain state of health, in any case at the maximum length of 2 months as many more applicants will be wainting, so criteria must be hard. at the moment we negotiate (via email and through our two representatives on location) with MSF and the AIDS-association about conditions and controll mechanisms for a 2-year-test-phase, so it’s not yet decided if the project is indeed going to take place.

our role would be financing the project. annual costs are quite high for laafi-measures:
– 8300 for food,
– 2100 rent and
– 1000 for three salaries (cook, custodian, guard).
– furthermore 1600 for initial investments.
(but just imagine what 11,000 meals, 3 employees and a house for 30 persons would cost in europe.)

even if “just” the lives of cureless ill would be extended the impact is substantial: hundrets get the opportunity to lead a normal live for years, return to their jobs, and most of all change african society from inside: they openly admit their sickness and thus contribute to public conscience – and the readiness to use condoms. as long as AIDS-sufferers die seemingly of something like pneumonia shortly after breakout of the disease, an infection with HIV stays a theoretical threat that one only knows from educational broadcasts on state radio. and as long as AIDS-cases end up on the street MSF’s therapies can’t help. the building serving as room for educational meetings that the association organizes independently – currently in open air – would be a positive side-effect.

if you like the idea and want to contribute to it financially you can find bank details on contact page. in case the project doesn’t materialise (which might well be, as our standards are quite demanding for our project partners) and you don’t want your donation to be used in other laafi projects, your money will be transfered back (please note this requirement in the transfer detail fields).


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