St Vincent – Bread of Life

Project: Bread of Life home for HIV/AIDS infected children

Worldwide, after Sub- Saharan Africa, the Caribbean has the second highest ratio of persons infected with HIV/AIDS. This has become notably evident within the past few years on the Island of Saint Vincent. To date, more than 700 Vincentians have been diagnosed with either HIV or AIDS, since the first case was reported over 21 years ago. Unfortunately today, only 300 of those persons are still alive.

In 2004, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) recorded 108 new cases of HIV/ AIDS. In comparison to 2003’s report of 81 new patients, that’s an alarming increase of 33% in one year! St. Vincent is a small island, located North of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean.
The population of around 108,000 had until recently, managed to more or less keep the incidence of HIV/ AIDS in check.

The Bread of Life Home has been in operation since 1997, and is under the supervision of two Carmelite sisters and one helper. Due to the alarming rise in HIV/AIDS cases on St. Vincent island, Bread of Life is preparing to meet some aspects of the forthcoming crisis. Sadly, as numbers of HIV/AIDS cases grow, so do the number of children affected by this disease. Some are left orphaned, others contract the disease, and still others remain in increasingly taxed households that struggle to get by as they take in recently orphaned neighbours and kin.

Bread of Life is doing all they can to aid the growing number of children in need, due to the profound toll the disease is now starting to take on this small island population.

Currently, nine children are staying at the Bread of Life home, ranging in age from one to 12 years old. Due to a lack of space in the home and a lack of funds form development, they are currently unable to accommodate more children. With the help of caring individuals like yourself, they plan to renovate their building and expand their programs in such a way that the growing number of children infected with and affected by AIDS, can have access to a warm and loving home as well as to resources that just might help reduce the many negative outcomes of this dreaded pandemic.

For the two boys and seven girls living at the Bread of Life, the Home is like any other home. They foster a family atmosphere where the children feel comfortable interacting with one another – as brothers and sisters. They learn to share and care for each other. They attend school and are able to participate in recreational activities when resources permit.

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