Guided by our principles, Unitarian Universalists are called to advocate for international human rights, promoting the inherent worth and dignity of every person. As part of the mission of the UU Office at the UN (UU@UN), Every Child is Our Child (ECOC) works to empower women and children in the region of Ghana most heavily affected by HIV/AIDS.
What Does ECOC Do?
The UU@UN’s ECOC program provides school supplies and National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) health care cards to children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in Ghana. ECOC and the Queen Mothers work to further the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of increasing access to primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, improving maternal health, and combatting HIV/AIDS. ECOC strives to:
- Empower children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS through education. Attending school is not possible for many children who cannot afford the costs of materials and uniforms. ECOC addresses this by purchasing school supplies for them. While early schooling increases students’ opportunities for success later in life, it also has the benefit of limiting their involvement in risky activities that can increase their likelihood of contracting HIV. Attending school also allows students to build social support structures that are key to their emotional and mental growth, which many orphaned children lack.
- Lower rates of HIV/AIDS and AIDS-related deaths through health care access. ECOC makes healthcare obtainable to students and their caretaking families, who cannot afford it by purchasing health care cards for them, keeping people infected with HIV/AIDS safe and healthy, and instilling greater awareness of personal healthcare measures in the community to reduce the spread of HIV in the future.
Donations are transferred through the Queen Mother’s Association directly to the students; this is the best way to be assured that it benefits the children. Currently, the program supports 120 children through primary school and 6 children through high school, and we hope to expand the program to include more students in the future.