Saturday, April 8, 2017
A Different Approach to Reaching Street Boys
The vision of Masana has always been about reaching street children and rebuilding families. In the past, that has been accomplished through building relationships with boys as they attend our day center, speaking with them about God's design of family and the need to return to theirs. We teach often on the plans and purposes God has for their lives and the fact that those plans and purposes cannot come to be as long as they are living on the streets. We have helped over 100 boys leave the streets of Maputo. Over 100 families have been rebuilt.
But now, something new is happening amongst the street boys of Maputo. HIV rates for adults in Mozambique are around 11% but in the capital city of Maputo, that number is closer to 20%. We are starting to see the truth of those numbers reflected in the street boy population. In the past 10 months, 6 of our boys have tested HIV+. No longer are the conversations with these boys simply about the need to return to their families where they can enter into the plans and purposes God has for their lives. Now the conversations are about returning to their families where they can receive the treatment and support they need and live a long and healthy life. It's about convincing them that a positive test does not mean their is no longer hope. There is Hope.
In the past few months, we've begun talking more about HIV/AIDS at Masana. We've held 2 testing days with over 50 boys being tested in total. We've invited professionals to teach on preventative measures. Just this past week, we began a circumcision campaign as male circumcision is shown to reduce rates of transmission of HIV by 40%. We're doing all we can to reach these boys before they have a positive HIV test.
And for those that do have that positive test, we make sure they get the care they need at the local hospital. We encourage them to go home so that they can live in a clean environment with less exposure to sickness. We go with them to their home to help break the news to their families. We provide food packages on a monthly basis because we know how important proper nutrition is in staying healthy. And most of all, we encourage them not to lose hope. God still has incredible plans and purposes for their lives. With the proper treatment, which, thank God, is readily available here in Mozambique, they can still live a very normal life. There is Hope.