For Children Living With HIV, It's More Than Just Camp

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Sarah Luft
Brand Associate, Marketing & Communications  

 

At SeriousFun, we know that camp changes lives for kids all around the world throughout the United States, across Europe, in Japan, and Israel. What YOU may not know is that it’s changing and potentially saving the lives of young people living with HIV and cancer in low-resource areas across Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. 

 

 

A Global Need

We believe ALL children deserve the chance to be a kid no matter where they're from. But according to UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS, there were an estimated 2.1 million children living with HIV globally in 2016, including 160,000 new infections occuring among children.

Kids living with serious illnesses around the world often face social isolation, stigma, depression and anxiety, and poor academic performance due to missed days in school. For these children, the ability to access and closely adhere to therapies and treatments is critical to their survival. That's where camp comes in. 

 

Making an Impact Through Camp

In countries where the medical and psychosocial needs of children are often outside of what local resources can provide, SeriousFun's Global Partnership Program (GPP) meets the needs of kids who have been marginalized by their condition and by their community's response. 

Through summer camp programs and outreach activities, GPP engages youth in a fun and socially supportive environment — an experience that helps them reclaim their childhood, rediscover their confience, and renew hope for their future.

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In 2013, San Diego University's School of Global Public Health put several GPP sites to the test! An evaluation impact study revealed three (awesome!) findings: 

  1. Children with HIV and AIDS were more likely to take their medications with both greater accuracy and on time, long after an experience at camp.
  2. Campers where willing to talk to more people about their illness, suggesting greater understanding about and comfort with their condition.
  3. Camp programs helped children develop social skills and build friendships with other kids living with HIV. 

In 2016 alone, these life-changing programs touched the lives of 32,000 kids throughout Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. 

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Locally Run & Culturally Applicable Programs
  

And that's all possible because of collaboration with amazing partners around the world! SeriousFun works with trusted international organizations and local hospitals — like Baylor College of Medicine, Worldwide Orphans, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and more — to deliver camp without the burden of expensive, permanent sites.

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SeriousFun staff train our partners to deliver the same spectacular camp experiences and high-quality medical care kids recieve at SeriousFun camps in the U.S. or Europe, all with the goal of developing programs with local roots and leadership. 

The result? Locally designed, culturally applicable programs that excite, inspire, and empower children all over the world in their native language. 

 


 

To learn more about or support SeriousFun's Global Partnership Program, contact Tim Bethune, Director of Global Partnerships and Programs, at tbethune@seriousfunnetwork.org

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