Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Join the fight with Eve for Life

Published:Monday | April 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Fletcher
(From left) Gillian Zacca, Mark Wates, Jae Edwards and Davion Bell at the Caymanas Polo Club in St Catherine, March 27, 2018.
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Absolutely nothing can prepare a woman to face one of her worst nightmares: contracting HIV or AIDS. The harsh reality can sometimes be too heartbreaking, too traumatic, too brutal to bear. But Eve for Life is here to say to those affected: this isn't a death sentence.

The Flair Magazine visited the home of Eve for Life last week and spoke with Executive Director, Claudia Fletcher, about their inspiring and life-changing movement. Eve for Life, according to Fletcher, is a non-governmental organisation which serves to provide psychosocial support for women and children living with or affected by HIV or AIDS, as well as improve the reproductive, sexual rights and better the overall quality of life for those diagnosed with HIV or AIDS or gender-based violence.

"Part of the work we do here is help women see that this does not define who they are and show them that they can achieve their goals, as long as they take their medication."

A healthy lifestyle is always compromised based on their background so Eve for Life supplies nutritional support, too.

Women assisted by Eve for Life range between the ages of 14-24. The organisation realised that this particular group was being neglected, receiving little to no funding, so they tapped into this niche, bridging the societal gap among females. Usually high-school dropouts and teen moms who are by and large, unskilled, they empower these women through several care and after-care initiatives. "There are bi-monthly support group meetings - you will be surprised that half the battle is won when they are surrounded by individuals like themselves, going through it with them, and camaraderie is built. As a result is amazing. We also have a Mentor Moms programme: nothing beats having someone who is living with HIV or AIDS help you to overcome struggles they have encountered," an enthusiastic Fletcher revealed.

In addition, they cater to the cases of orphans and vulnerable children cases, giving them homework support, counselling, and links to medical and psychological care.

Celebrating their 10th year of existence, they are currently helping girls and women islandwide, from Kingston and St Andrew, St Thomas, St Catherine, St Ann, and St Mary to Trelawny, St James, Hanover, and Westmoreland.

Already, Eve for Life has received support from partners such as UNICEF, United Nation women, European Union, Johnson & Johnson, Rise Life Management Services, government ministries like the ministries of Health and Education. While Fletcher pointed out that the administrative aspect is severely underfunded, they are grateful for the aid thus far, the strides they have made and most important, the lives they have saved.

They still need your help. Friends in the support group offer homes on a temporary basis, but they would love a transition home and an additional one for girls and women living in the western parishes, for young girls and women to catch their breaths, recuperate, and work towards making themselves better enough to lead normal lives, "We are currently sharing space with Rise Life Management Services and it's limited, so we're working on having our own offices and would appreciate help from anyone willing to contribute to having their own multipurpose office."

Spry training has joined forces with the Kingston Polo Club to host a Polo for Charity match. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Eve for Life. And they were honoured to have been chosen as the beneficiary for their first charity event, "It validates our work. People can do their independent research and see that Eve for Life has made an impact on the lives of these you girls and young women. So we really want to encourage you the public to come out and support this event because while it will be fun, we can think of the bigger cause, empowering the lives of these adolescent girls and young women."

If you're interested in getting tickets for the event or you want to join the fight by making a donation to a worth cause, you can contact Eve for Life at Tel: 816-1365, visit their website at www.eveforlife.org, or check them out on social media, Instagram: @eveforLife_jamaica Facebook: EveforLife and Twitter: @EveforLife.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com