A Guelph-based charity that helps people suffering from HIV and AIDS in Africa, is changing its focus. For the past eight years, Bracelet of Hope has raised money for a medical clinic in Lesotho, a small and impoverished country within South Africa’s borders.

The charity says it has amalgamated its services with other government health services, and is shifting its focus away from medical funding to economic development for those infected with HIV and AIDS.

“We shouldn’t see this as a disaster, but something we need to continue to monitor to see if it works or not,” says executive director Anne Gardiner.

Nearly 10% of Lesotho children are orphans; their parent’s victims of the disease.

When Bracelet of Hope opened eight years ago, there was only one HIV-AIDS clinic in Lesotho. Today there are several clinics in operation.

The charity sells bracelets, key chains, pens and other pieces of jewelry made in Lesotho by artists with HIV and AIDS.

Instead of using that money for the medical clinic, Bracelet of Hope is creating micro-financing projects for women. They are also developing and supporting foster homes for AIDS orphans.

The charity is hoping to raise $550,000 to help kick-start their plans.