Sophie + George

- an orphans and vulnerable children care story -

We were given help based on the gaps assessed in the household... We were down, and now we are somewhere, thanks to PEPFAR.

(Sophie + George Juma)

"PEPFAR gives dignity"

PEPFAR Kenya gives hope and dignity through....

bolstering families of orphans and vulnerable children to meet their own needs

PEPFAR Kenya supports 608,090 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and their caregivers, like the Juma family, with critical care and support. PEPFAR’s programming for OVCs delivers child-focused, family-centered interventions that seek to improve overall well-being and to mitigate the impact of HIV among vulnerable children and their families. Using an individualized case management approach, the program targets children and adolescents like Josephine Juma who are deemed to be at high risk.

The OVC component of PEPFAR's Kenya program aims at strengthening case management and building the capacity of program staff and caseworkers to sustainably care for and support orphans and vulnerable children and their caregivers. Case management is a collaborative process of identifying vulnerable children and families, assessing their needs and resources, working together to establish specific, realistic objectives and goals, planning actions to achieve those objectives and goals, implementing plans, and monitoring the completion of actions; this is designed to ensure that OVCs receive relevant services in a timely, context-sensitive, individualized, and family-centered manner.

Sophie and George Juma are OVC caregivers from Kisumu who have been enrolled in one of PEPFAR’s OVC programs since 2011. They care for six children in total, with four of them enrolled in the OVC program and one child living with HIV and requiring special assistance. Through PEPFAR's support to USAID, partners conducted a case plan readiness assessment to determine household needs and to develop an individualized plan for Sophie and George’s family.

Through the use of real-time data from the Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS), developed through partnership with the Government of Kenya’s Directorate of Children’s Services (DCS) and USAID in collaboration with UNICEF and other stakeholders, PEPFAR’s OVC program is able to provide necessary services to families caring for orphans and vulnerable children. For Sophie and George, PEPFAR was able to help meet a number of their material needs, based on the household’s case plan. As Sophie notes, "We were given help based on the gaps assessed in the household: ARVs for our HIV positive child for the last 12 years - from ages 6 to 18 years old - plus transport to clinic appointments, school fees, shoes, uniforms, sanitary pads, dignity packs, school bags, a goat to help our family be self sufficient, and savings and loan training to save and increase what we have."

The services provided have helped build the Juma family’s resilience over the years, and Sophie can confidently cater for her family’s basic needs, as well as support her children’s education. Sophie is engaged in farming and sells vegetables to meet her daily needs. She is a member of Ma to Mara -“This One is Mine” - savings and internal lending community (SILC), from where she has accessed loans and utilized them for different home improvement projects, as well as school fees for her children.

One of the children in Sophie's care is a child and adolescent living with HIV (CALHIV). A form three student at Alara girls’ secondary school, Josephine was linked by PEPFAR to a health facility to access care and her antiretroviral therapy; as of 23/02/2023, she had a viral load count of zero. Previously, Josephine had high viral load due to boarding school environment adaptation, but through psychosocial support and adherence counseling, she was able to get drug timing support, linked to the school matron as a treatment buddy, and eventually achieved suppression of the virus. Sophie was very happy with the interventions PEPFAR gave her daughter, as she puts a high value on both Josephine's health and her education; "Educating our children is important to us so that they can lay their own foundation for their future," she explains.

Because of PEPFAR’s personalized support, the Juma family is now self-reliant, providing for their own daily needs and making plans for the future. They are currently undergoing monitoring and are marked for graduation and transition out of the PEPFAR OVC program in the coming months, due to their marked success. "We were down, and now we are somewhere," Sophie reflects with pride. Through PEPFAR's partnership, over six hundred thousand more Kenyans like Sophie and George are bolstered to meet their household's needs with dignity and hope for a bright future.