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Challenging the stigma against people with HIV

Zimbabwe Programme / Partner story

Photo: © Bethany Project

Born with HIV, 16-year-old Mary Moyo didn’t want people to know about her condition because of the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV. She tended to isolate herself, unable to socialise well with others, and felt embarrassed to even pick up her medication at the clinic.

However, thanks to Bethany Project, which works to promote the wellbeing of young people living with HIV, Mary is now a different person. Mary’s mentors have not only accompanied her to health sessions and advised her on how to make informed decisions about her sex life, but have also helped her see her condition in a new light.

“My hope has been restored. I am now confident, my self-esteem is high. I am better able to deal with the stigma and discrimination that people living with HIV face in the community.”

– Mary Moyo, participant of Bethany Project.

While Mary once saw her condition as the end of the road, Bethany Project support groups have allowed her to contemplate new possibilities. She now participates on her school’s netball team and aspires to become a nurse to help others.

Bethany Project operates in the Zvishavane and Mberengwa Districts of Zimbabwe. Some 57 per cent of its beneficiaries are women and girls. It uses a participatory and rights-based approach in its programming and works to engage communities in promoting the wellbeing of young people with HIV.

The Bethany Project’s commitment to promoting the wellbeing of children affected by HIV extends beyond support groups to food security, resource mobilisation, capacity building and education around women’s rights and sexual health.

This grant falls under Oak’s Zimbabwe Programme, which works with local organisations involved in caring and providing for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Zimbabwean society.

Source: Oak Foundation Annual Report 2018