250 000 patient contacts, hundreds of visitors, hundreds of study hours and training sessions – it would be interesting to statistically summarize every aspect of the work of our 36 dedicated staff from HOPE Cape Town – but all these figures would not reflect what is really important: the dedication of each and everybody, the ability to go sometimes through tough times and quite some challenges in the personal and work life. It’s about people, HOPE Cape Town is about people, those working within the organization and those being the beneficiaries of this work.
At the end, before the holiday season starts and the journeys home to relatives and family sometimes far away, before work ceases for the year, there is the year-end function. A time to reflect, to let the year go pass in some speeches, to honor some who have done not only a great job but excelled expectations and to give a hint what lies before the organization in 2015.
The way forward is never easy – HIV and AIDS are not sexy, nor do they attract the necessary attention in Europe where most of our sponsors live and work. It seems that Ebola has beaten HIV awareness and the 35 million people worldwide living with the HI virus can’t count on the attention of the rest of the world. But let’s be frank: HIV is not going away very soon and pulling out of research or development of new medication doesn’t help. Nor the ignorance of governments thinking they have done their bit already. It’s a well know fact but one has to emphasize it again and again: If all the money or even a fraction of it which went into wars, into torture, black holes and rendition, into spying on each other would have put into research and more meaningful things the world would look better and the HIV crisis might have been come to an end. Instead we push the goals of a HIV free generation and treatment for all more far away and celebrate this at conferences as a success.
Yes, there is success, but it could be so much more, yes there is progress, but it could be so much more, yes we are going in the right direction, but I still wish for more.
Here in South Africa statistics look better and when it comes to children, there is progress: the rate of HIV positive born children declined but let’s be honest: we can do better and every child born positive is one to many. And those being born positive have more challenges to tackle, amongst others often poverty and difficulties in early childhood development.
So, let’s today celebrate and be thankful for all the opportunities we had this year to make this world, to make South Africa and the communities, we are working in a better place. And after a well deserved rest let’s start in 2015 to work hard again towards more life, more hope, more perspective in the lives of those children and families carrying the burden of HIV, AIDS or related illnesses.