Patrick from Malawi learnt that he and his wife were both HIV positive after they had a stillborn baby.
When he was trained by The Hunger Project to become a local volunteer leader, an Animator, he saw an opportunity to connect with and lift up others in his community dealing with the same challenges and he and his wife. He formed a small support group called ‘Umozi’ made up of ten people living with HIV.
“In the group we talk about medication and how difficult it can be to stick to taking it regularly — sometimes you feel gloomy and stressed and you just don’t know how to go on.”
Together, they have planted a vegetable garden, which helps keep their diet diverse and nutritious. Occasionally, they sell goods at the market and put the money earned into a joint bank account so that they can support one another financially.
“Everyone has a future, but some of us have to work for it more than others. We cannot afford to eat unhealthily and become ill, because our immunity is already low. If one of us loses weight, then he or she must go to the clinic immediately. We have to pay attention to these things, and look out for one another.”
After taking medication very strictly for three years, Patrick and his wife tried again for another baby.
“I was nervous throughout the entire pregnancy. What if our child is also HIV positive? We now have a healthy son, a beautiful gift from God.”