Life-Giving: Give an Alternative Gift this season that keeps on giving, as a single gift or a monthly pledge.Your gift will be acknowledged to the receiver with a beautiful card.

Lucia raises her nine grandchildren in her small home that also holds seven other adults.  Two of her grandchildren, Sofia (age 3) and Raúl (age 5 months) are HIV positive.  They contracted the virus from their mother, Carla. 

Carla is in denial that she has HIV.  She is irresponsible, at least in the area of her sexual health and that of her children's health.  She has abandoned her children to their grandmother.
Lucia, the grandmother, gets paid a little by some of the parents of the grandchildren whom she is raising.  Many Nicaraguan parents leave their children with grandmothers in order to find some kind of paying job…with under- and unemployment so high in Nicaragua (almost 50%), people have to make choices between bad and worse. 

When Lucia can leave the children, she goes out and collects clothes to wash for some extra money, but it is never enough.  Until recently, when our clinic started providing formula for Raúl, he drank a watery mixture of fine corn flour.

Sofia receives antiretroviral medications from the Ministry of Health (MINSA), but has to be taken to the other side of Managua (2 hour bus ride there and 2 hours back) to receive them.  Raúl has been officially placed in the system to receive treatment soon.

Our clinic cannot afford the antiretroviral drugs and we cannot do the T-cell testing to know what drugs to give the children or other HIV positive patients, but we can provide some nutritional supplements and all the secondary medications they need.

Equally important, we would like to provide support…like transportation, education, and emotional support but we need funding 

Lucia is overwhelmed.  Our health promoter, Jessenia, does home visits and encourages Lucia to bring Sofia and Raúl to the clinic when they are sick…like yesterday, when Sofia was running a fever and Raúl had a rash.

This season, give a gift that will help Lucia's family and others like them who suffer from poverty and living with HIV.