SEATTLE — Founded in 2003 by AIDS activist Leigh Blake and singer Alicia Keys, Keep a Child Alive’s mission is realizing the end of AIDS for children and their families by combating the physical, social and economic impacts of HIV. The organization seeks to fight for the end of HIV/AIDS by providing clinical care, a nutritious diet and psychosocial support. Keep A Child Alive’s approach is “We don’t just treat the disease, we treat the person.”
With their services reaching approximately 70,000 people annually, Keep A Child Alive provides support to seven grassroots organizations in South Africa, Rwanda, India and Uganda. One of these organizations is Operation Bobbi Bear, located in Durban, South Africa. Operation Bobbi Bear aims to help children who have been sexually abused reduce their risk of contracting HIV when rescued, ensure their overall wellbeing and bring their offenders to justice. Most of the members of Operation Bobbi Bear are survivors of sexual abuse themselves.
The other organizations supported by Keep a Child Alive are Alive Medical Services, WE-ACTx for Hope, Family Care Clinic, Blue Roof Wellness Centre and The Ikageng Itireleng AIDS Ministry, located in the African countries of Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa, as well as the Bhavishya Project, located in Pune, India.
As one of the founders of the organization, Alicia Keys has done a significant amount of humanitarian work for Keep a Child Alive. One of the projects she has been involved in is Keep A Child Alive with Alicia Keys, which details the experiences of five Americans who won the chance to travel to South Africa with the singer as she visited Keep a Child Alive-funded sites in South Africa. Each winner uploaded a short video to YouTube describing their journey with Keys.
“We got to see with our own eyes what most of us have previously only learned about on the news, or in a magazine or even maybe through studies in school. We saw the faces of HIV and AIDS up close and personal,” said Rachel Hathaway in her video testimonial. “You would think people living with such extreme challenges in life would have given up a long time ago, but no matter how bad anyone’s situation was, I never heard a woe is me story.”
In addition, Keys regularly attends and performs at the annual Keep a Child Alive Black Ball with celebrity guests, which have included Beyoncé, Chance the Rapper and A$AP Rocky. This past year, the event was streamed on TIDAL. In a release sent to Billboard, Keys stated she was excited about the partnership with TIDAL, as it would give many people the chance to fight against AIDS. Keep a Child Alive’s Black Ball has raised over $28.7 million for those affected by HIV.
There is still more work to be done when it comes to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Currently, there are approximately 37 million people living with HIV, and 50 percent of HIV-infected children do not have access to treatment. With organizations like Keep a Child Alive and the advocacy work of celebrities like Alicia Keys, hopefully one day HIV and AIDS will no longer be taking any more lives.
– Blake Chambers