Camp Hope, a residential summer camp and year-round support program designed for Malawian youth living with HIV, builds skills and provides psychosocial support to its campers and their guardians. Camp Hope works in collaboration with SeriousFun Children's Network and Baylor College of Medicine's Children's Foundation – Malawi to develop a unique program catered to the specific challenges these youth face.
The skills taught include:
- Understanding proper nutrition and food preparation
- Cleanliness and sanitation
- Decision making
- Understanding anti-retroviral therapy (ART)
- Learning helpful habits for drug adherence
These concepts are taught in creative and unique ways, such as camper-developed cheers to remember the names of drugs they take. Concepts taught during the summer are also reinforced at follow-up sessions throughout the year. Guardians are also exposed to complementary lessons and encouraged to support their campers throughout the year.
Through its blend of psychosocial support and traditional camp activities, Camp Hope enhance campers’ adherence to treatment and encourages them a mindset of possibility & optimism. Every program is designed to inspire a positivity and hope for their future by fostering resilience, rekindling childlike joy and curiosity, and providing a supportive community and positive role models.
Youth Living with HIV (YLHIV) in Malawi face significant challenges, including: a lack of support networks, difficulty disclosing their status, isolation, trouble coping with their status, and stigma and discrimination.
Camp Hope creates a positive experience where youth living with HIV are understood and accepted. Campers build independence, gain self-confidence, and become resilient individuals.