South Africa: Caring for others helps me care for myself

Date: June 26, 2012
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My name is Abigail Mooketsi and I am a 33-year-old mother of three children. I have two boys and one girl and I live in Orange Farm Ext. 7a. I was diagnosed with HIV in 2003. In 2005, I joined a support group for people living with HIV and AIDS at an organisation called “Let Us Grow” in Orange Farm.

I learned so much about HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections in support group there that I ended up becoming a care worker. To be a care worker is not easy because you are an unpaid volunteer. Some people don’t want to volunteer and can’t afford to volunteer.

I am a community champion because I am living openly with my status. When I visit my clients who are sick with HIV or AIDS I disclose my status to them. I want them to recover. I visit them every day to check their medication and to give them love and support. Some people in the community are afraid to stay with someone living with HIV because they don’t have any information about what it is. Some of my clients were unable to walk on their own for check-up at a local Clinic. In my organisation we have only one wheel-chair, sometimes it is being used and I have to walk with them and support them to the clinic.

Let Us Grow helps people in the community to know their rights and helps care for those that come out of the hospital.

In 2006 I started my ARV treatment and now I am very well and healthy which is why I can also help members of my community who are living with sick people. I also work with children who lost their parents because of HIV and AIDS. They are orphans. I take care of them and I refer them to my organisation so they can get help.

When I visit my clients I take my “tool” kit. It has gloves, linen, soap, a face cloth and pampers. I use that kit to protect myself from sickness. I work hand in hand with my clients.

The people in the community love me very much because I am living openly with my status and they love the work I do with Let Us Grow. It makes me stronger to work with people who are like me.

However, I survive on only a small stipend and I wish that sometimes we will get a salary to provide for our children.

This “I” Story is part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary special series on care work.


0 thoughts on “South Africa: Caring for others helps me care for myself”

nathy kabisa says:

let me congretulate the courage of thi mother because it is not easy live with HIV ,please i’m going to write in french excuse me!Dans notre entourage nous vivons avec ces genres des personnes qui sont réjetées par les soit disant bien portant mais dans notre association par exemple nous avons brisé la barrière parce que nous travaillons avec les gens qui vivent avec HIV.congretulation madam and BE YOU.

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