Henan Province, China, 2006-2007
There are rural areas within the Henan Province in China which have been tragically affected by HIV/AIDS. In the mid-1990s a pharmaceutical firm, with the local government's consent, collected blood samples from the local population. For families whose annual income was very low, the opportunity to make $5 for donating blood was a huge attraction. The adult population participated in large numbers. The pharmaceutical company, however, held down their costs by reusing needles many times. The result was a mushrooming population of HIV/AIDS cases throughout this region of poor farmers. The victims were the middle generation. Some of the children who were born to these victims were also infected with HIV/AIDS. Both healthy and sick children lost parents and the elderly lost their adult children and their primary means of support in old age. This tragedy has destroyed families and has weakened an already tenuous economy.
Global Ministries partner, The Zhecheng Succor Society, is administering a small loan program to assist HIV/AIDS affected families in the Gangwang District of Zhecheng County, Henan Province. Through the program, families can receive interest-free loans for self-sustaining agricultural projects. The loans are in the form of pigs or goats and repayment is also in the form of pigs and goats. The loans are given in the spring when there is abundant food for the animals and the repayment happens in the fall when the animals would normally be sent to market.
The Milking Goats are very popular. Both goats and pigs reproduce regularly, allowing for the numbers to increase quickly. The goats provide a source of milk and an income when the milk or offspring are sold. Pigs are raised for market. The additional nutrition provided by the goat milk has been significant for the children and those who are sick.
Most of the funds sent to this project -- 93 percent -- purchase pigs or goats for loans. About 7 percent of the funds covered operating expenses incurred by the Zhecheng Succor Society. So far Global Ministries' contributions have provided 400 families with goats and 40 families with pigs for the Small Loan Project. The Small Loan Program is providing improved nutrition (milk) for the children and elderly in need as well as supplemental income when extra milk or offspring of the goats and pigs are sold. The eventual goal is to support the Zhecheng Succor Society to convert this effort into a self-sustaining program and expanding program as goats and pigs are repaid and then loaned out to another family. There are many more families which need this assistance as they recover from this personal and financial disaster.