Facing the Challenge: Reproductive health for HIV-positive adolescents

Source: UNICEF-SOWC, 2011

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda

Research on HIV and AIDS has generated valuable breakthroughs in the last 20 years. Children born with HIV are more likely to survive with treatment, and vertical transmission has been reduced with the provision of antiretroviral drugs to 45 per cent of pregnant women living with the virus in low- and middle-income countries in 2008. The global community has also made great strides to protect children and facilitate access to education and health services for HIV-positive children and orphans. Organizations such as UNICEF, faith-based organizations and women's networks such as the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) have directed resources to train caregivers in social protection policies and to defend children's rights to information and dignity. Continue reading

Young and Positive:Mufaro Keeps Hope Alive Amidst Adversity

When you meet young Mufaro* your heart naturally reaches out. The 19 year of young man was born with HIV and all his parents died when he was a young boy. Life has just been a struggle for Mufaro, who has tried three times to commit suicide. What the purpose of life, he asks and yet one can almost touch his quest for happiness. Mufaro was referred to Rozaria Memorial Trust by Murewa District Hospital when they discovered that he needed a more supportive social environment, It was just not enough that he was on treatment.

His grand parents, aging and poor continues to give all they can for this young man, but its just really hard with all the poverty and needing care themselves. He has lived with one family and another. A neighbour with goodwill paid his school fees for secondary education and he passed his O’levels. He, like many other young people in Zimbabwe is unemployed and has very limited options for getting a livelihood.

Mufaro, is from Zaranyika village in Ward 5, Murewa. He joined 20 other children and young people last week to participate in a Digital Storytelling project supported by SAFAIDS and AJWS. Lilian Chikara, a senior officer with SAFAIDS and Colleta Zinyama of RMT led the capacity building. It requires a big heart to listen to the painful stories of these children. The all have such hope in the midst of adversity.

RMT plans to strengthen its bridging internship programme for young people living with HIV. This is a programme that gives skills, exposure and opportunities to young rural children who have finished secondary school and are in transition. Its young people like Mufaro who stand up and encourage other children to be hopeful that also gives the Trust its energy. Mufaro will be joining the Trust as a community peer educator for other children.

We invite you to join us as we together seek to give options and possibilities to our children.

* name changed to protect identity of the young man.