The World AIDS Conference is back in Durban South Africa after 16 years. At the World AIDS Conference 2000 themed “Breaking the Silence” a young frail looking boy who had fought a long battle with HIV named Nkosi Johnson spoke at the Conference echoing the words “Please help people with HIV love them, care for them support them”.
And this, believe it or not were the words that got Champions For Life starting in 2005. A lot has changed since 2001. Treatment is now available for all, governments all over the world are implementing ‘test and treat’, an HIV vaccine is on the Horizon and most importantly, the possibility of an HIV free future is now far much more realistic than it was a decade and half ago.
Champions For Life’s presence will be felt at this global event as we showcase how we have provided Love, care and support to over 15 000 adolescents living with HIV in the 11 countries we operate in through our Faith Based Psycho-Social support program.
This year, the World AIDS Conference is running under the theme “Accessing EQUITY rights now” and as Champions for Life, we are helping Adolescents living with HIV access equity rights now.
Come join us in Durban at the World AIDS Conference at our NGO Booth (number 517) and Booth 115 in the Pharmaceutical Exhibition hall. Also Pen in your Calender’s Tuesday 19 July 13:30 at the Global Village Main Stage for our performance “Weeping Shadows”.
Just around the block from Harare the ‘city that never sleeps’ was a light beaming from Marondera a.k.a The Champions For life(C.F.L)day seminar. C.F.L. Marondera came together breaking new ground with ‘Kukura ne Shungu’ Children’s rehabilitation home peers participating in the day seminar running with the theme of “Depression”.
A wholesome teaching on breaking out of depression was conducted from the onset of a music ministry which created an atmosphere of joy. An interactive presentation was conducted giving insight on what is depression, how to break out of depression setting a foundation for addressing depression in ones life followed by a drama connecting with the theme.
This set pace for small group interactive sessions that were sincere pertaining to champions sharing on personal experiences.Group therapy was key which saw champions testifying of having been enlightened,encouraged & ultimately breaking out of Depression.
Champions For Life Zambia Day Seminar, through my eyes.
Champions For Life Zambia started in 2011 and my first experience with Champions for life Zambia after four years of its establishment is a journey I would like to share. The morning began, with an adrenaline rush in anticipation of the prepared day seminar to commence. A build-up of momentum was further on heightened at the arrival of the Champions, and so it was Expectation met with Anticipation. Team leaders and Champions were united by the music ministry, setting the pace of a remarkable journey of the Champion experience.
A flash back is one that consisted of drawing invaluable lessons from one another. Under the theme “breaking out of grief” what was special and worth noting was the level at which individual Champions began to share with fellow champions on their life experiences concerning grief, for most it was a bold step of openly confronting shelved feelings within, whilst for other peers listening it was reassurance that they were not alone.
The interaction within the small group sessions from the older champions to younger champions was intriguing due to the manner in which they tackled questions on their understanding of grief, by acknowledging each others unique experiences pertaining to grief and helping one another.
Pictures paint a thousand words with the aid of the silhouette drama serving as a visual example it created a platform of delving right into ones thoughts and feelings enabling a direct confrontation of any relatable feelings in line with the theme.
An overall experience still resonates freshly within astounded by the commitment and service towards cultivating a culture of loving, building another through the champions day seminar program.
Durban the land of spices, right from the mild, hot and hot hot and you cannot come here and not eat a “Bunny Chow” or a spiced burger with chips, which was lunch that we were treated to on the 11th of July 2015 at the Champions Durban day seminar. With an attendance of more than 150 people both young and old we could only see God’s hand at work right from the start to the end of the day.
Themed “I Got This” was a seminar like no other, anchored on taking responsibility on every aspect of the Champions’ lives. These aspects came about when Champions team had noticed that people in general enjoy pity parties, or like to always feel sorry for them for anything that comes their way or love to play the blame game whenever something bad happens. With this in mind it was high time we turned the victims of such charades into victory. Tackling this monster was not going to be an easy one but having understood the difference and the growth it would bring in the Champions lives it was worth one’s salt.
In any seminar focus groups are the crux of the day as everyone from young and old is spilt into small groups where people discuss the topic but above all to create a close up atmosphere of love, care, communication and disclosure. The highlight of the day was the small groups of the parents and guardians that had brought their little ones taking responsibility of loving one another by giving each other hearty hugs. You could tell that this is no longer a transactional hug to fulfil some duty but it’s motivated by loving the next person despite race, colour or creed.
This seminar marked the 3rd year anniversary of the existence of Champions in Durban and it was amazing to note that there were a number of medical students,Counsellors, Matrons, Partners and parents that have been attending these seminars faithfully since the inception of Champions.
It couldn’t be a celebration without Cake and 2 large cakes were made just for that. Durban is known for breaking new ground as they took it further by awarding every Champion that has been coming to the seminars for the last 3 years with a beautiful certificate of appreciation for their faithfulness.
One of our vibrant Programs in Southern Africa and in Zimbabwe particularly Zimbabwe is Champions for Life Gweru Program. It has a dynamic team of leaders and committed Partners. Here is a crude video of some of the Partners talking about their experiences with Champions.
Durban Champions started in July 2013 and to date a number of seminars and mentorship sessions have been held with the Champions Durban Leaders Marlvin Chidziva and Aimee Blumears. The first seminar of 2015 was held on the 28th of March. To jumpstart the year’s events, a robust group of enthusiastic young leaders were selected to be junior leaders who will help co-ordinate and run future seminars, teaching and training their peers.
The first seminar of the year was attended by more than 81 Champions with the majority of Champions coming from King Edward Hospital, KwaMashu Clinic and Sherwood Shelter. Also in attendance where Clinic Counselors and Guardians. It was a packed day that started with an awesome time of music ministry which did not fail to live up to its usual expectation getting people highly excited with dances and routines.
The theme of the day was Leadership and Discipleship and the teaching was done by the Medical students who spoke about what it means to be a leader and a disciple in our areas of work and life. This culminated in the choosing of a team of leaders from among the champions and as a sign to show their ability to serve their peers they offered to wash the feet of their fellow Champions. It was truly a spectacular thing to witness incoming leaders speaking words of life and affirming each and every champion.
Focus Group Session and Feedback Sessions are always key to each seminar and it was amazing to hear the champions talk about some of the things they worked on in their focus groups.
Champions Zimbabwe was started in 2005 with Bi Annual camps at RestHaven Retreat Centre and it is from this flagship Centre that it has grown into 10 other Nations. Champions Zimbabwe has been done in partnership with Governmental Hospital , Municipals Clinics and District Hospitals and also from inception the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) Zimbabwe
Disclaimer: These pictures are a mixture of leaders, champions and leader of the Christian Fellowship.