“Knowing my HIV status, accessing ARVs and adhering to them changed my life for good! Thanks to the TUNAJALI’s supported centre, Allamano,” says Eliza, mother of four and a resident of Igumbilo in Iringa region.
Eliza was born in Makorongoni Iringa 45 years ago. She completed her education at Mlandege Primary School. She then underwent a year nursing training at Iringa Regional Hospital after which she got employed by as a nurse at warehouse clinic in Mafinga. For 10 years she gave injections and dispensed drugs to patients.
After giving birth to her fourth child in 2001, her health deteriorated. On her sickbed one day in 2003 she was visited by a Health Community volunteer who advised her to go for HIV testing where it was found out that she had HIV infection. As a child and grown-up she had an ambition of owning a house, but with HIV her dream vanished! “I asked myself how can I, an HIV+ person, earn enough to build a house?” she says.
Until recent times most people thought that HIV infected people could not do anything productive. But, the fact is being HIV+ doesn’t mean incapability, and Eliza is a living example to prove this.
Eliza says at Allamano PLHIVs were told that being HIV+ is not the end of the road, if they live positively. She got organized, started living positively and joined a Savings Internally Landing Communities (SILC) credit scheme for PLHIVs introduced by TUNAJALI.
After investing and re-investing in SILC and working productively she has realized her dream, she has built a family house, started a grocery business, barber shop and she has also set a small hall where she has installed DSTV which enables her to screen popular football matches. “I charge entrance fees for these matches,” she says.
“Frankly speaking knowing my status, joining support group and adhering to ARVs have lifted me from shambles to prosperity. What I have now, not even many HIV negative have! And am not there yet, watch this space as life goes on,” she concludes with a broad smile while cutting her client’s hair at her barber shop.