People In Need Agency is a youth led non- governmental organization registered by the government of Uganda, Wakiso district, Entebbe Municipal Council and Makindye Ssabagabo Municipality. It was- established to provide hope and support to vulnerable children and youth especially teenage mothers, those living with HIV and survivors of child sexual abuse through offering interventions that provide supportive, educational and information sharing environment, and empowerment skills to reduce the impacts to poverty and HIV/AIDS.
At PINA Uganda, we believe that when you empower vulnerable children with the right information and skill, they begin to ask “what next instead of why me”. PINA Uganda seeks to empower youths to lead the overall advocacy, discussion as well as designing of programs that strategically address needs of children and young people. At PINA Uganda, we support vulnerable children to have a positive outlook towards life by increasing their self -esteems, confidence and provision of sustainable lifesaving skills. Current initiatives focus on grass root health education, leadership training, reproductive health, Women and girls empowerment, Human Rights, Youth Empowerment, Health, HIV/AIDS and Business Entrepreneurship.
Our Motto : Create Hope and Happiness among children and youths living with HIV/AIDS. By taking the poorest and most disadvantaged children of society and giving them the love, care and an environment to achieve excellence, a significant impact is being made. As we raise these children with elevated standards and expectations, they become social justice advocates, role models and peer educators in their schools and communities and all our services are free.
Our Mission : We are missioned to strengthen the capacity of vulnerable people, their families and communities though sustainable psycho -social support interventions to improve health.
Our Shared Vision : “A brighter future for vulnerable children and youths” PINA Uganda envisions a Ugandan society with conducive environment and services in reproductive health, HIV, adolescent health and child health services- all accessible , affordable and effectively utilized by those in need.
Our Goal : To support vulnerable children and youths to break the cycle poverty and diseases and our interventions focus on abandoned children, sexually abused, teenage mothers and those living with HIV/AIDS.
People In Need Agency is a youth led non- governmental organization registered by the government of Uganda (5914/9553) established to provide hope and support to vulnerable children and youths especially survivors of child sexual abuse, teenage mothers and those living with HIV through offering interventions that provide supportive, educational and information sharing environment, and empowerment skills to reduce the impacts to poverty and HIV/AIDS. Enduring childhood with HIV/AIDS in Uganda coupled with loss of parents is very difficult. After losing their parents, the plight of an HIV positive orphan in Uganda is one of hopelessness and they live with weighty secrets, and feelings of isolation and anxiety about the future. They are often dealing with loss of parents, poverty, depression, unemployment and under-education. These homeless and impoverished orphans are in need of care and support. When these children lose their parents, a relative generally takes in the child and cares for them. When no relative is able to care for them, they are forced to live on the streets. Life is hard enough with no one to care for them and they are the poorest of the poor.
In addition to the difficulties of coping with HIV, they encounter stigma and discrimination from the family, school and communities and secrets and feelings of isolation, hopelessness and anxiety about their future which greatly interfere with their ability to achieve even the simplest social milestones. These realities underscore their largely unmet need for resources to prepare them into adolescence and adulthood.
A) Inadequate Food Supply) Inadequate Food Supply
One of the most essential, yet often overlooked components of successful HIV treatment among children and adolescents living with HIV in Uganda is access to nutritious food. Many children miss their drugs because they cannot access daily food leading to malnutrition. Malnutrition weakens children’s ability to resist attacks of the infectious diseases. It also has a negative impact on children’s cognitive development. Nutritious food helps to boost their immunity, thus increase in the CD4 counts and reduced viral loads, resulting in increased capacity to resist opportunistic infections.
B) Stigma and discrimination.
In particular, children report fearing the “pointing of fingers” by other people and involuntary disclosure, especially in the school environment. Stigma in the school environment is serious, and it is perpetuated by fellow students and teachers alike.
C) Limited Access to Education
80% of the children living with HIV/AIDS under the care of PINA Uganda are not in school. Although there is universal free primary and secondary education in Uganda; it’s difficult for children living with HIV/AIDS to attend school because they cannot afford to pay the minimum required school expenses like uniforms, exercise books and school maintenance costs. Additionally, caretakers and guardians may be reluctant to send these children to schools because many families do not understand the value of sending them to school and those who get a chance to go to school, majority drop out due the high levels of stigma and discrimination from students and teachers.
D) Adherence to antiretroviral drugs (ARVs)
Adherence means taking medicine consistently and as prescribed by a health care provider at least 95% of the time. Non-adherence refers to the failure to take medication consistently and correctly, and it can include any of the following: missing one or multiple doses, not observing the correct time intervals between doses, or not observing dietary instructions. The consequences of non-adherence to ARV’s are serious: incomplete viral suppression, continued destruction of the immune system, disease progression, increased side effects and the development of resistant strains of HIV.
Many children living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda have difficulty adhering to ARVs. Common reasons given for non - adherence include lack of food, stigma from school, family and community, drug side-effects, inconvenience of taking many pills every day, difficult drug regimens, treatment fatigue, forgetfulness, lack of treatment supporters, orphan hood issues, depression and the feeling that medications continually reinforce the reality of being HIV-infected.
Poverty in childhood is a root cause of poverty in adulthood. Impoverished children often grow up to be impoverished parents who in turn bring up their own children in poverty. In order to break the generational cycle, poverty reduction must begin with children. People In Need Agency supports children to have a positive outlook towards life. We empower, educate and encourage HIV positive children and their families to develop important life skills and make healthy choices through youth-led, peer support, leadership and economic empowerment programs. We aim at improving the quality of life of HIV positive children and adolescents by improving adherence to antiretroviral drugs and prevention of transmission and re-infection. PINA Uganda works closely with HIV positive children to provide supportive, educational and information sharing environment and empowerment skills. The goal of PINA Uganda is to mobilize all vulnerable youths both men and women, who are struggling to survive, marginalized and in need of Psychosocial and economic empowerment to cope with HIV/AIDS by increasing their self - esteems and provision of sustainable lifesaving skills.