The Power of Love Foundation is a secular US non-profit organization founded in 2002 by three friends; Suresh Subramanian, Alka Subramanian, and Ellen Furnari. The founders left their jobs in business and academe to build an innovative community-based approach to combat HIV and AIDS. POL funds and runs projects in Zambia and India targeted toward helping women and children infected/affected with HIV and AIDS.
What is the Problem We are Trying to Solve?
Over the last decade significant progress has been made in the fight against HIV and AIDS but children are still falling through the gaps. Every day, 1000 children are born infected with HIV even though this is completely preventable. Many children born HIV positive will die by age two if they do not receive medication and adequate care. In addition, only 24% of children living with HIV are receiving the necessary treatment. This gap leads to communities having a quarter of their children to suffer and die needlessly. The problem continues to remain unaddressed and is growing.
To build strong and vibrant communities by ensuring no child is born with HIV and to care for HIV-positive infants and children so they can live productive lives.
A world where the AIDS epidemic is in continuous retreat, and people living with HIV have access to loving care and treatment in an environment free of stigma and discrimination.
How Successful is Our HIV-Prevention Program at Building Sustainable and Healthy Communities?
- Survival rates of 95% for HIV-infected children, and an overall improvement in their health measured by weight-gain, reduced number of ancillary infections and an increase in CD4 counts. As a result of their improved health all school age children are in school and learning.
- Over the last six years,100% of children born to HIV+ moms were HIV free. To date, out of a total of 35 children, 34 were born HIV free even though they have HIV+ moms and older siblings.
- Loan repayment rates are above 90%. This is extraordinary, given the difficult circumstances faced by our loan recipients. In addtion, most loan recipients start saving a small amount each week, understand the importance of keeping children in school, and are confident about their future.
- As a result of our malaria prevention program we are seeing a reduced incidence of malaria, and improved knowledge about malaria prevention. As the children improve in health, school attendance and performace goes up.
Over a Decade of Building Strong Communities Through Health, Education, and Care for HIV+ Children
Over the last 13 years of work we have developed a highly cost-effective way to prevent children from being born HIV positive. For the HIV+ children in our care, we have put in place a highly effective way to let them live close to normal lives for pennies per day. At this time we have 350 HIV+ children and their families in our care. Our comprehensive program includes pediatric HIV care, microloans for caregivers, malaria prevention and education, and educational games and activities programs.
We believe that:
- New HIV infections can be prevented;
- Children living with HIV can lead close to normal lives; and
- A comprehensive program that reaches and helps a family in multiple ways can lead to family sustainability.
Our model of care for HIV positive children was developed through partnerships with MIT, the Harvard School of Public Health and by utilizing best-practices from the world of business. We are thrilled as our pediatric HIV care program just hit a major milestone. In the last few years, of the 35 children born to HIV+ mothers, 34 were born HIV free. It is an unheard of statistic outside the high-tech expensive medical world and a story that may be of value to many others working toward similar goals. Our work is being studied and replicated by other organizations in the field. Nevertheless we continue to refine our approach to deliver more care at a lower cost.
Our programs focus on education, health and economic stability by providing the following: as
- Prevention of HIV via education and treatment,
- Providing HIV and AIDS education via our Safe Parks Program, and
- Schooling support for the HIV infected children.
- PMTCT (Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission) programs for expecting moms,
- Training family members in caring for an HIV+ child, and in HIV care and prevention,
- Provision of mosquito bed nets and education on malaria prevention,
- Monitoring and training in adherence to medication,
- Weekly health check-ups for HIV positive children, and
- Psycho-social counseling for the HIV+ children and their families.
Targeting Economic Stability
- Provision and business training and loans to first time women entrepreneurs,
- Provision of business mentoring and advice to women entrepreneurs, and
- Education in income generating activities.
With your support we can turn back the AIDS epidemic. We know how to do it and we know how to deliver the solution in a loving and cost-effective way.