South Africa: Farm Is Weapon in AIDS Struggle
May 7, 2007
Sister Love Inc., founded in 1989 to combat HIV/AIDS among African-American women, recently helped purchase a 700-acre farm in Emalahleni (formerly Witbank) South Africa.
Sister Love joined partner organizations in Africa and individual donors to form the Thembuhlelo Cooperative, which purchased the land for $343,000. Sister Love provided a $20,000 interest-free loan toward the purchase. Proceeds from the agribusiness will provide funds for SisterLove South Africa and other groups, as well as income and jobs for 66 families.
"What we have learned over the years is that this is not just a health issue, particularly when it comes to women," said Sandra Thurman of the International AIDS Trust at Emory University. "It's a gender issue; it's an economic opportunity issue."
Dázon Dixon Diallo founded SisterLove as a nonprofit to teach black women about HIV/AIDS, self-help and safe sex techniques. Ten years later, SisterLove joined a CDC pilot program exploring "twinning relationships" between U.S. nongovernmental organizations and those in other nations. SisterLove formed an organizational kinship with South African groups doing similar work.
AIDS is one of the leading causes of death in South Africa. There it spreads mainly through heterosexual exposure and has disproportionately affected women, both as patients and as caregivers. Young women ages 15-24 are four times more likely to be HIV-positive than males the same age.
Dixon Diallo, who goes to South Africa several times a year, hopes to get Atlantans more involved in the project and to export the concept to other communities and nations grappling with the same issues.
05.06.07; Shelia M. Poole
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.