An activist at 13

Date: June 25, 2012
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My name is Kgomotso Thamae. I am 13 years old and I live with my grandmother in Orange Farm. After I discovered my grandmother’s HIV positive status I felt very sorry for her. I kept asking myself, ‘Why is this happening to my grandmother?’ I am very close to her; I always watch her; trying to pretend that everything is fine. Sometimes I find it hard to go to school and leave her alone at home. Sometimes I wish I could stay with her to protect her from this world of sorrow.

In my mind I keep asking myself how many people are suffering. How many children are suffering? Who takes good care of them, are they having enough support from their friends, families and neighbours or are they all alone?
I asked my friends about us starting a support group to help children who are in need. They agreed with me. Our first trip was to Nkosi’s Haven to visit children who are HIV positive to show them that there are children outside who love them; who care for them; who pray for them. When we came back people joined us because they were touched by what we had done. There are ten people in our group. We have activities like dancing, singing, drama and much more.
We fundraise for the orphans by going to town and dancing in parks, on street corners and at events. Sometimes we take them out to the Zoo, swimming and to other entertaining places. We want to take orphans out during the December holidays.
If young girls like my friends and I can carry on giving support to other kids, love them and treat them like us we can make the world a better place. It is not their fault that they have lost their parents. Our government must do something about HIV/AIDS. Orphans are the leaders of tomorrow. The future is in their hands; help them to help themselves to fulfill their dreams.
To listen to this story and  other stories from survivors of gender violence,  please visit the ‘I Story’ page.
(This story is part of the I Stories series produced by the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service for the Sixteen Days of Activism on Gender Violence).

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