The outdoor courtyard at St. Clare is often a beautiful and uplifting scene – some girls playing, others laughing after classes and chores.  This was certainly witnessed by our team of board members who travelled to Kenya this past February. However, they noticed something different about the girls this year:  many wore pink hats in stark contrast to the traditional blue St. Clare uniform.  They learned many of the HIV+ girls wore the hats to mitigate the chills that often followed medication.  While effective in reducing chills, the hats stood out and made the girls look “different” than the others.

girls in pink hats

girls in cafeteria

As the country of Kenya struggles to reduce stigma around HIV/AIDS, St. Clare has moved to fully integrate the HIV / AIDS students with all the other girls.  The team could see that these hats were a barrier to this integration and community building.

Taking quick action while still in Kenya, our board members appealed to donors to reduce the stigma of HIV+ and to enable these girls to be like the others. The team was determined to raise money to purchase the SAME color hat for ALL the girls of St. Clare.  No longer would the HIV+ girls be “different.”

New blue hats

Donors of Friends of Kenyan Orphans responded in record time.  Money was raised and sent to Kenya to purchase navy blue hats for ALL of the girls, no matter their HIV status.  The HIV+ girls will not be stigmatized any longer.  Thank you to our donors for another St. Clare miracle.