By Lloyd Mwale in Kadoma
About 100 Women Living with HIV attended a belated World Aids Day Commemorations and a Women Living HIV Retreat where heroines in the fight against Aids were honoured last Thursday at Rimuka Hall in Kadoma.
The heroines were presented with certificates and a shield.
The event, which was organised by Pan African Positive Women Coalition-Zim (PAPCW-Zim), ran under the theme “Our Health Our Wellness Honouring Heroines in the Fight Against Aids, Let Communities Lead”.
Giving the organization’s background, PAPCW-Zim National Director, Tendai Westerhof said that PAPCW-ZIM waa formed in Kadoma under a tree, but has grown to be national organization with more than 400 000 members.
“PAPWC-Zim is an organization for Women Living with HIV and the idea of a women living with HIV network started in 2012 during an African Union meeting which was held in Harare where 27 countries were present,” Westerhof said.
“As African women living with HIV, we wanted our own African voices to be heard by our leaders not foreigners to come and talk to our leaders about problems being faced by African women living with HIV. So as a result all the 27 African countries present were tasked to go to their respective countries and start a national network group for women living with HIV.
“So I came down here in Kadoma and in 2015 formed PAPCW-ZIM under a tree here in Rimuka, but from that humble beginning the organization has grown to be a national network group for women living with HIV and we now have more than 400 000 members in Zimbabwe,” she said.
Women Living with HIV gave testimonies of positive living with the condition.
“I started living with HIV in 2006 but I met discrimination in the community from people who were so close to me,” said one of the members from Rimuka. She asked not to be named.
“I had my sister aida kugara achigadzira bvudzi rangu, apa kubatwa kwandaitwa munhu aida kuona kuti bvudzi rangu rakuyerera here. Paipihwa huku dzemaprojects ini ndainyimwa nekuti ndanga ndajoina a support group raionewa sebato rezvematongerwo enyika.
“Zvezve izvi zvaiitwa nekuti ndaiva ndabatwa kuti ndaive neHIV asi ndakaramba ndakashinga kusvika nhasi ndichiri mupenyu ndichirarama neHIV Madzimai mukaramba maka shinga muchitevedzera mararamiro atinoudzwa tinoraramawo semunhu wese.”
Another woman said: “Ini ndakabatwa kuti ndone HIV muna 2007 asi pakati apa ndakaita vana vangu vaviri, vese hapana anorarama neHIV. I am not ashamed to go public with my HIV status and I encourage every woman living with HIV not to look down upon yourself but raise your head high, have a positive attitude to everything you do and enjoy your life!”
The retreat also had women living with HIV getting vital knowledge in personal hygiene and mental health and living with HIV complications.
NAC PM MashWest Mr Nyamurera and Papcw-Zim national director Tendai Westerhof presenting a certificate and a shield to one recipient.