In 2004, Oprah's Angel Network surprised Alicia with a $250,000 check to
help her continue her life-saving work in Africa, and her organization put the
grant to good use!
Alicia traveled to South Africa to visit the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Ithembalabantu Clinic, which means "people's hope" in Zulu. This clinic provides free, life-saving drugs to parents and children with HIV and AIDS. "So many more patients are getting the medications they need to survive," Alicia says. Donations from Oprah's viewers also made it possible to hire the first pediatrician for the clinic, Dr. Thompson.
Dr. Thompson says that after a year of treatment at the clinic, most people can't tell an HIV-infected child from a healthy child. "Seeing a child coming in being absolutely a waste, literally a walking skeleton, and then a few months later just seeing the improvement…it's a feeling you can't replace ever," she says.
Alicia thanks Oprah and her viewers for their generosity,
and she urges people to continue caring about this global issue. "AIDS is 25
years old. I'm 25 years old. There are 25 million [people] already dead," she
says. "There is no reason why we can't join together and realize that this is
something we have to do. … On behalf of them, let me be their voice and say that
there's so much more to do."