School program of HIV positive children and their eligible siblings
One of the newest components for the Caris team is the school program through Caris/BEST. Approximately 7,000 HIV positive children and their siblings ages 6-18 years have been sent to school. Each child is given a book anduniform allowance. The Caris health agents perform visits to the home and school to ensure attendance and address any other problems. The grades of each child are evaluated to assess which children need additional support and if any are experiencing health problems affecting their progress.
Vocational training program for older children
The Caris/BEST program enrolls 100 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) who are between the ages of 18-24 and unable to find employment. Through partnering with local vocational training programs and individual organizations, Caris aims to find this group a means of earning an income.
In order to guide the most vulnerable out of poverty, Caris utilizes microfinance programs that help families caring for OVC become financially secure. Microfinance approaches are combined with Public Health interventions to reduce HIV stigma and teach HIV prevention at the community level. In the last two years Caris has enrolled over 15,000 people, mostly women, in Microfinance groups nationally. Together the participants have saved over 250,000 US dollars and have made three times this amount of loans.