Children with AIDS

Dare to Care is the HIV/AIDS program of Mustard Seed Communities that was established out of the great need to provide care to abandoned or orphaned HIV/AIDS infected children in Jamaica. Dare to Care’s first official home was established in 2000 and the Jamaica Dare to Care program now encompasses three homes throughout Kingston. In 2002, MSC was asked to expand Dare to Care to Zimbabwe to help address a growing population of children orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS.

Mustard Seed Communities is committed to the care of abandoned children afflicted with HIV/AIDS ensuring that they have the opportunity to live their lives under the best possible social, medical and educational conditions.

Philosophy of Care

Dare to Care was established with the firm belief that all persons are entitled to live worthy lives. In the early stages of the program, the focus was to provide hospice care to children at the end stages of the AIDS disease. Our focus has since shifted to giving these children a real chance at life. Saving and prolonging the lives of our residents was put at the forefront of the Dare to Care program. The government does not subsidize anti-retroviral drugs (HIV/AIDS medication), thus Dare to Care has to bear the full cost of these prohibitively expensive drugs. In addition to the supply of anti-retroviral therapy, the medical condition of the children has to be monitored once they are placed on these drugs.

In both Jamaica and Zimbabwe, the Dare to Care program emphasizes education and spirituality. Most children in the program attend MSC’s Little Angels Learning Centre and some of the older children attend school in the surrounding communities. It is the aim of Dare to Care to allow all children the experience of being educated in the regular school system. However, this continues to present a challenge due to the stigmas associated with the disease.

As they grow older, our children become increasingly aware of their HIV status. The program provides counselling sessions and other therapeutic activities to ease this difficult process. Psychosocial support has proven to be a significant challenge in terms of resources. As such, MSC is looking into obtaining a full time counsellor and pursuing additional support systems such as a mentoring program.