· “To educate and sensitize the students whilst grounded on biblical standards of living.
· To seek to change a generation to live according to God's plan, with knowledge of stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS around the community.
· To support efforts that seek to achieve in reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS, through community and school based programs.
· To provide advice and guidance to positive living people, government/private institutions in relation to prevention and stigmatization in general.
· To provide assistance to the various needs of community to support sustainable projects that are designed to address to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
· To provide sports activities among the youths in both schools and community.”
To that end, the Peer Leaders decided to conduct a field trip to New Start Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Center in Kitwe- nearly an hour away by bus. The primary goal was to learn about the center and thus be able to be role models for fellow students. This was a brave and compassionate decision for these students. In Zambia, as in many African countries, there is a powerful stigma attached to “getting tested” that often prevents those who need it most from receiving this most basic service. These students knew the risks of their decision, but chose to pursue it anyway and set an example for their peers.
The Butondo club prepared well for their excursion, meeting for two hours, on two occasions prior to the trip to prepare and discuss expectations for the visit. On the day of the trip, 17 students and two teachers accompanied Joseph on the dusty, bone-jarring ride to the New Start VCT Center. After the tour of the clinic and an explanation of the process, even Joseph was surprised and delighted when all 17 of the students volunteered to be tested! What a testament to these students’ faith and passion to set an example for their peers. Praise the Lord for giving them the passion and courage to step up and shine a light, even through the dark shadow of stigma.