There is an estimated 580,000 people living with HIV in Thailand. Of those, an estimated 16,000 are under 14 years of age (UNAIDS). Chiang Rai, one of the provinces worst hit by the AIDS pandemic, had no home for HIV positive babies. Project L.I.F.E. stepped in to meet death with life and hope – and Home of the Open Heart began in 1999.
It’s purpose is multifaceted: To give HIV positive babies who cannot be cared for by relatives, a loving safe home. To offer self-contained cottages for HIV+ mums to live independently with their baby/young children. To offer hospice or respite care to women and children in their final stages of life. To visit families affected by HIV/AIDS in the community and offer income generation opportunities. www.homeoftheopenheart.org
Each HIV+ child and woman, is cared for by the staff at Home of the Open Heart for as long as they live. It’s a commitment from the heart, one that brings lots of tears, lots of sleepless nights nursing them back to health, and lots of joy. Oh, to see the babies who came in dying who are now laughing, playing, going to school, just being ordinary children. That’s what L.I.F.E. is about.
Home of the Open Heart is needing more staff and volunteers. Find out more info at: http://homeoftheopenheart.org/volunteer/