Trinity School of Medicine "Kid Companions" Fights Local HIV/AIDS Stigma, Plans Visits to Bread of Life Orphanage

Trinity School of Medicine "Kid Companions" Fights Local HIV/AIDS Stigma, Plans Visits to Bread of Life Orphanage

8-937749-edited.jpgIn February of 2016, Trinity students founded a new group to provide mentorship and friendship to St. Vincent's ophan population. The organization, led by Trinity student Diane Freeman, has since established an extensive program of companionship and mentoring that caters to the children of the St. Benedict Children’s Home.

Shirley Samuel, who now functions as co-president of Kid Companions along with Emily Satkovich and Camille Olechowski, explained that the organization; while still concentrating on the St. Benedict Orphanage; had also formed an association with the
Bread of Life Orphanage, a facility that houses children diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or whose parents have died of AIDS. 

This facility has been in existence in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for over thirty years, and is run by Catholic Carmelite Sisters. It is home to children between the ages of one and eighteen. The children attend preschool, primary and secondary school and beyond while living at the orphanage. 

In small island communities like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, diseases like HIV/AIDS engender fear in residents who do not sufficiently understand the (relatively) low communicability. Hence, HIV/AIDS still faces a stigma. The members intend, through their actions, to set an opposite trend within the local community of Georgetown where the orphanage is situated. 


First term student Elizabeth Odudu was asked to comment, saying, “I feel like it’s a blessing that we can come out here and interact with the kids. Hopefully, as both (temporary) community members and future doctors, by interacting with the kids, HIV/AIDS can be de-stigmatized locally. we're not doctors yet, but the children will get to experience other persons beside their caretakers as we bring them fun activities. You can't undermine the importance of that in someone's life.”

co-president Shirley Samuel gave a layout of their plans for the remaining weeks of this term.  The children there will be engaged in an arts and crafts session in October and will enjoy a carnival in November. 

Similarly, as time goes on, these will be the same activities experienced by the children of the Bread of Life Orphanage.


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