Liberian refugees teach HIV awareness in Ghana
Despite being displaced from their home country, Liberian refugees are grouping together to fight HIV and gain a better education. Mareeni Raymond visits a Liberian refugee camp and talks to its inhabitants
- By: Mareeni Raymond
Alfred Gizzie is an HIV/AIDS counsellor and educator in a village in Ghana, visiting schools, churches and traditional providers of medicine to educate on prevention of HIV transmission in his village. But he is not Ghanaian, and this is no ordinary village. Gizzie is a Liberian refugee. He lives and works in the Buduburam settlement, a refugee camp with a population of about 40 000, which was set up by United Nations High Commission for Refugees in 1989 to house people fleeing from war torn Liberia.
On the camp, HIV is a problem. No records exist to measure the true extent of its prevalence, but stigma is fierce. People do not want to admit that they have the disease, and families try to ensure that their loved ones are not stigmatised after they die. Gizzie is a volunteer counsellor and educator for LIBRUAHS (Liberian Refugees United Against HIV/AIDS and STDs)--one