#GivingTuesday: “Power Of Love Foundation” Fights HIV & AIDS In Zambia

The Power of Love Foundation in Zambia is committed to aiding remote communities in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Power of Love Foundation
Microloans Program example. PHOTO Power of Love Foundation

“All children should have access to good quality healthcare no matter where they live,” Alka Subramanian, founder and executive director of Power of Love said.

The AIDS epidemic has killed over 35 million people since 1981. Another 35-40 million people are expected to lose their lives due to the illness within the next 20 years. 20 million children world-wide have been orphaned due to AIDS and 75% of those 20 million are living in sub-Saharan Africa.

Subramanian grew up in New Delhi and obtained an education in economics for her undergraduate and graduate degrees in India. In her studies, she was exposed to economic development and the hardships of developing countries.

“Of course, living in India, you always see poverty all around you but seeing how people were suffering, seeing how they were less fortunate than I was, it was something I always wanted to work on with my exposure to economic development,” Subramanian said.


$10 to donate two mosquito bed nets

$25 to sponsor one child for one month

$50 to cover the training of one woman entrepreneur

$299 to sponsor one child for one year

Before Subramanian moved to the United States, her family was involved in several social work in India.

Power of Love Foundation
Elizabeth with her grandmother in 2011. Her mother passed away from AIDS and father lives outside of Lusaka so her grandmother asks as her guardian. Elizabeth has not yet needed ARTs. FACEBOOK Power of Love Foundation

“We always had schools and orphanages around my family that we often helped, so I’ve been aware for a long time that there is a need,” she said. “Once my husband and I completed our studies, it was the year of 2000. The AIDS pandemic was at its peak. Treatment was very expensive and most of the pandemic was concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa.”

For most people living in sub-Saharan Africa at the time, the antiretroviral medication (ARVs) that is used to treat HIV infections was unaffordable. Not only that, there was only one dosage available, so there was no safe way to treat pediatric HIV infections.

“The number of infections were so staggering,” Subramanian said. “A friend of ours who had experience in the nonprofit world, my husband who was a corporate executive and I, a professor of business, got together and started Power of Love to make a difference in the treatment of pediatric HIV in Zambia.”

Power of Love Foundation
Martin going through a health checkup in May 2023. PHOTO Power of Love Foundation

This begs the question: If she grew up in India where she saw poverty frequently, why did she start a nonprofit in Zambia?

It was completely unplanned. Subramanian’s husband traveled to Zambia over his winter break many years ago and was stunned to see the infection rates there.

“The prevalence rate for HIV at that time in Zambia was 16%. That is over a million people,” Subramanian said. “Zambia’s HIV response was not one of the best. It is a beautiful country, it is rich in mineral resources, it is a democratic, peaceful country, so we just started in Zambia many years ago and stayed there.”

When Power of Love first started, they were partnering with other NGOs. Instead of just jumping right in, they wanted to understand how having a charity in Zambia truly worked. The Subramanians also lived in the community because it was extremely important for them to have the support of the local churches, families, schools and organizations.

Power of Love Foundation
Demo and training session in April 2023. PHOTO Power of Love Foundation

“We started with providing deworming medication to families in our neighborhood. This is something most people could not afford as they live on $2 a day and unemployment rates can reach 50-60%,” Subramanian said. “Many of the children are taken care of by their grandmothers who then find themselves looking after 5-10 orphans. When we came to this realization, we started the women’s empowerment program in addition to pediatric HIV care. It’s not enough to just provide food and medicine.”

This is because the goal of Power of Love is to provide family sustainability. In order for this to come to fruition, they must provide food, medicine, support counseling, psychosocial counseling, education on HIV, education on STIs, school support and more. The first building block is food and medicine because they strive to keep children healthy. Once they are healthy, they can attend school and receive an education.

“Even though we have a pediatric HIV care program, a women’s empowerment program and a malaria prevention program, if you think about, it our goals are really very simple: that our children live close to normal lives and they graduate high school, and they never develop AIDS,” she said.

She mentions never developing AIDS as a goal because the HIV rate is still very prominent which, if untreated, can become AIDS. If someone is infected with HIV, however, and they receive proper care and treatment, they can live close to normal lives. Luckily, the new Zambian government presently supplies HIV medication free of charge. Although, kids are not as willing to take medication if they are not educated on it. Once they find out this is a life-threatening disease that they have contracted from their parents which requires taking a pill every single day, they hold some resentment more often than not. This is where Power of Love comes in to ensure the health of infected children.

Power of Love Foundation
Demo and training session in April 2023. PHOTO Power of Love Foundation

“In order to access the medications, you have to know that you should be taking it and why you should be taking it. All of that counseling and education is provided by us. In addition to the ARVs, there are other medications that the children need because their system is immunocompromised, so they always run into opportunistic infections, these medications are provided by us, “she said.

Power of Love will actually educate entire families first and train them on how to administer HIV medication before they enroll a child because it is tremendously important that the child and family both know the significance of taking the medicine every single day. Volunteers will go into their homes and ensure that the caregiver is properly trained and even do wellness checks on the child. They find these families through local churches, who will send referrals if they are worried that a child is living with untreated HIV.

“Life expectancy for a child who is born with HIV without treatment could be as low as four to five years but we are proud to say that our survival rates are over 95% and more than 95% of school-aged children are getting an education now,” Subramanian said.

“We want our children to never develop AIDS so the current generation can be AIDS-free, this will also decrease the rate of new infections in children so the next generation can be HIV-free. We can get rid of HIV. We know what to do. It’s a matter of funding and education.”

With programs to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS, increase women empowerment, educate children living in rural areas and more, Power of Love needs your help to continue changing the course of families lives in Zambia for the better. While they have made great strides, there is a continuous need to support and educate the families of infected children. Donations can be made on their website to ensure that in the future, no child has to suffer from this life-threatening disease.

Alyssa Spagna

Contributing Editor

Alyssa is a spunky, fun-loving traveler who has an infatuation with theme parks! While she loves her tropical beach vacations, nothing compares to the thrill of a rollercoaster drop or a character meet and greet. Standing at only 4’9”, Alyssa lives by the motto “dynamite comes in small packages.”

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