While the main objective of Buddies is to provide moral support to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), from time to time and on a case to case basis, we do try to source for funds to help the needy PLHIV families with financial assistance. The financial assistance is however, rather limited, mainly for their children's education, and once in a while, we also approve assistance from our Client's Welfare Fund for hospital transportation to hospital, or for tests not available at government hospitals but still needed to be done.
Our support is basically to help these PLHIV become independent, not dependent on us. Which is why I love it when any of my clients come up with plans to carry out small businesses as their source of income. But a major factor in carrying out your own business is the need for at least a minimal amount to get started. Buddies however, do not have specific funds for this purpose. So how do I help them? By getting funds from other sources, namely, the social media.
For the most recent case, when Dahlia mentioned to me that she (together with her daughter, Dilla, the young mother of a 2+ year old girl) plans to start baking at home as their source of income, I was happy about their plan. Dilla had after all completed level 2 of her culinary course and in addition to her interests in pastries, she's also very business-minded. And while she does plan to further her studies, starting the baking business at home will enable her mother, Dahlia, to continue with the business even if Dilla furthers her studies later. With the flexibility of working at home, Dahlia doesn't have to worry about sending her younger children elsewhere while she works.
But they can't start without some basic needs. An oven, a mixer and other kitchen utensils are needed to get started. I mentioned their plight on my FB page, and within hours, I had more than enough contributions to buy the necessities. Yesterday, I went out to buy a big enough oven, and a sturdy mixer, and this morning I went to deliver the items to Dahlia and Dilla. I also gave them some cash for them to buy some other baking utensils and the raw materials to get started. At least they have some time to bake some samples before Ramadhan begins before taking orders for whatever they're baking. I even ordered for myself one of each type, which I hope to get during my next clinic duty in Taiping in early June. If they're good, I may even recommend to others.
So far, the other families who got similar assistance are doing okay. 2 clients opted to sell roti canai and were given some minimal cash capital to get started. Both are still selling roti canai. 4 others who could sew, were given sewing machines. All of them are still actively using their sewing machines as their source of income.
While they may not be rich (yet), at least they are independent enough to have a source of income instead of depending totally on welfare assistance. Hopefully one day their business will grow, and who knows, they may even help others get started...