“My name is Munyaradzi Chindima aged 15 and I am currently doing form 2. In our family we are only two, me and my elder sister Bridgette. I live with my grand aunt, sister to my grandfather from my father’s side. Even though she is my grand aunt, I call her my mother because she is the only woman that I have known ever since I was 6 weeks old. My mother is late and my father is still alive but does not even care about us.
I am living with HIV ever since I was born. When I was born I was always a sickling hence I was in and out of hospitals all the time. It never crossed anyone’s mind that I could be HIV positive thus when my grand aunt took me to the clinic/hospital the nurses there never thought of giving me an HIV test. It is only in 2013 when I was 11 that I coincidentally got to know that I was HIV positive. If it was not my sister who fell ill and got tested and was found HIV positive I wouldn’t have known about my status. It is then when she tested HIV positive that my grand aunt thought of having me tested also.
Knowing about my status was a big blow to all of us, me, my sister and my aunt. For me it was as if I had been served with a death warrant. I started thinking whether I was going to survive it all, because for me the future looked bleak. But thankfully my aunt was told about FICA by one of her friends. At first I was skeptical about joining the group because in my mind nothing would ever change my status hence I saw no point of going to the meetings. Eventually I started going to the meetings with the push of my aunt.
My sister Bridgette and I are beneficiaries at FICA, we do receive loaves of bread from the organization. Since there are two of us from our household receiving bread from the organization, my sister and I rotate in terms of being given bread, today it’s me, tomorrow it’s her. This bread that we receive is not just for one person to eat alone, but we do share it as a family, the whole family benefits from the initiative and this has kept us from starving. Also, my sister has received clothing from FICA. At times, during the weekend on Saturday, FICA organizes food for us, giving us rice, meat, and other food that we rarely eat and that we mostly see at weddings, parties and other festivals.
These days, my health is fine I don’t have any ailments. Every day I make sure to take my ARVs. Now I am living positively and I have learnt that having HIV does not mean that I am going to die tomorrow or immediately. I am now looking forward to a longer life and I cannot wait to fulfil my dreams of being either a lawyer, doctor, journalist or physician who also helps to assist other vulnerable people such as refugees.
The message I have for other HIV Positive children is that just keep on working hard for your dream to come true. Do not let other people look down upon you because of your HIV positive status. HIV is not a death sentence, rather your HIV status should motivate you to defy the odds.
I wish FICA to be able to train HIV positive people to come and work at FICA. I also wish that FICA reaches out to other HIV positive children, and it would be great for the organization to spread throughout the country to assist other HIV positive children.”
****Consent obtained from Munyaradzi and Caregiver to publish real name and picture****