PLAN International

Some 40 million people are today estimated to be infected with the HIV-virus. Of those 40 million a majority live in Sub Saharan Africa. 14 million children are orphans because of AIDS and according to the UN that number will have doubled next year.

Plan’s work with HIV/AIDS issues focuses on children and tries to attack the problems at a grass root level. Plan works with prevention, and also tries to put a stop to the stigmatization of people infected. Moreover, Plan works hard with securing orphans a chance to lead a normal life as well as increasing the possibilities of receiving health care for adults infected with the disease and their children. Furthermore, Plan tries to build networks with other aid organizations in order to maximize their efforts in their work against HIV/AIDS.

In Uganda Plan has initiated a project where parents infected with HIV get help to write and put together Memory Books for their children. One of the aims of the project is also to help the parents gain knowledge of how to provide for a safe future for their children. Among many other things the parents are encouraged to appoint a guardian for their child as well as writing a last will.

– The memory books mean a great deal for both the parents and the children. The books help them put words to their feelings, their thoughts and their experiences. This is a tough process for many Africans since they rarely talk about death until it actually happens. The memory books help the children cope with the process of mourning and it often becomes their most precious possession, says Beatrice Muwa who works as a health counsellor for Olan Uganda in the province of Tororo.

Henning Mankell’s book “I Die But My Memory Lives On” is a great contribution to the project. After Henning Mankell travelled to Uganda he decided to write the book to tell about his impressions. The book is published by Leopard Förlag and part of the proceeds goes directly to fund Plan Sweden’s Memory Books project.

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Henning Mankell has a dream that his memory books project about HIV and AIDS one day will be stacked in the new library in Alexandria. Together with PLAN Henning Mankell initiated this project to try to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS issue.