‘Nothing for us without us’

Foraward Nyanyiwa recently in Kadoma
When Dorothy Mudzamiri (27) inadvertently learnt her HIV status a decade ago, she was unnerved to the point of thinking of taking her own life.

Life in Siakobvu in the Nyaminyami area of sweltering Kariba became miserable for her as she struggled to live positively with HIV.

“I was born HIV-positive and grew up being told that I was taking tablets for heart problems. I became aware of my HIV status by default some 10 years ago.

“We were at a church meeting and my friend who was also taking medication for a heart ailment asked me if I could pass her tablets from her bag and all hell broke loose.

“The tablets were different from what I was taking and upon enquiries, I learnt that I was being lied to. From there I started to flush the tablets in a laundry sink in one of my attempts to die,” she narrated of her deliberate defaulting of antiretroviral treatment.

A series of counselling sessions brought her back on an even keel, and sound in herself the strength to carry on.

Encountering the Pan-African Positive Women’s Coalition (PAPWC) was the turning point.

“I had been involved in different support groups but when PAPWC came along, it changed the whole script. Here was a platform for me to transform myself and make my voice heard.

“PAPWC helped me rediscover my confidence and as I sit here, I am now a changed soul. I can now advocate for a sister next door,” she confidently said.

Ms Mudzamiri, now happily married and a mother of three, was part of a group of women who gathered In Kadoma last week to advocate for more female involvement in Global Fund processes.

Themed “Nothing for us without us,” the indaba drew participants from Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces.

PAPWC executive director Ms Tendayi Westerhof said, “This is one of those indabas we will continue to have so as to empower fellow women living positively.

‘‘We want to bring change to their lives and as for this gathering we hope all women should know the Global Fund processes and we want to deal with issues that affect us.”

Ms Enita Kwaramba (31) a single mother of one who comes Mhondoro-Ngezi said PAPWC was championing the cause of women living with HIV.

“Since I started to be with them, I have made a lot of contacts and I want to believe that networking is key for our constituency as women living with HIV.

“Right now we know a lot about Global Fund processes and that we must play a starring role; nothing for us without us,” said Ms Kwaramba.

Journalist and activist Mrs Catherine Murombedzi said the workshop was a platform to share knowledge and ideas.

“We believe as women living with the disease, we should play an integral part on issues that affect us and cascade the information to everyone infected and affected,” she said.

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