Guyanese NGO Helps Evicted, HIV-Affected Family Build New Home

Guyanese NGO Helps Evicted, HIV-Affected Family Build New Home

Luke and volunteers construct a new house. {Photo credit: L. Ross/MSH.}Photo credit: L. Ross/MSH.

In January 2011, Amelia and her partner, Luke --- both HIV positive --- began accessing HIV care and support services at the Agape Network through its community home and palliative care program.

Agape Network is one of the NGOs that receives technical support from the PEPFAR-funded, USAID-implemented, Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention Project (GHARP II), led by MSH.

When the Agape staff first met Luke and Amelia, they were living with their two daughters at Luke’s family’s home. The situation was tense because Luke’s relatives did not approve of his relationship with Amelia.

Finally, in December 2011, the tension escalated and Luke, Amelia, and their family were thrown out of the house.

Finding themselves homeless, the couple erected a make-shift shed on a plot of swampy land. At that time, it was the rainy season, and the house offered little protection from the harsh weather. To add to their distress, there was an upsurge of rape in the community, which made Luke reluctant to go to work and leave Amelia alone. Luke worked irregularly and was not able to earn enough money to support Amelia and their daughters.

After learning of the family’s need, Agape organized fundraising activities and networked with partner organizations and residents to raise funds to construct a small house for the family.

Agape also found a volunteer contractor and builders to help construct the house. Working together, Luke and the volunteers completed the house in just three days.

The couple was elated by this overwhelming display of support from Agape and its partner organizations, as well as the volunteers.

The family moved into their new home in May 2012.

Amelia is pleased to see how far her family has come with Agape’s support. “We are extremely happy… we have a roof over our heads and the children are with us again… we are grateful for all the help,” she said.

GHARP II, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), works with NGOs like the Agape Network to improve access to prevention, treatment, care, and support services, and provide psychosocial and economic support to people living with and affected by HIV.

Shameza David is program officer for the second phase of the MSH-led Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention Program (GHARP II).