South Africa: Let Us Grow helped me grow

South Africa: Let Us Grow helped me grow

Date: July 14, 2011
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My name is Mathapelo Moleleki and I am 43 years old. I live in Orange Farm Ext 7A in South Africa. I am a member of a support group for people living with HIV and AIDS at Let Us Grow, a local organisation.

I joined in 2005 and at that time I didn’t know anything about HIV and AIDS, which is why I told myself it was important to attend a support group to learn more about HIV, tuberculosis and other sexually transmitted infections.

I was diagnosed with HIV in 2005. In 2006 I became a volunteer care worker at Let Us Grow. I wanted to teach other people in my community about HIV and AIDS and show them how to protect themselves and their families. I wanted to give them love, care and support.

I visit my clients in their homes daily to check their medication and give them counselling about how to take medication. Some of my clients started treatment without knowing anything. I take them pills and make sure they take them correctly every day.

Some of my clients are unable to walk to the local clinic for a check up. I help them take a wheel chair. Some stay alone because their families have run away from them. I make sure they eat and take medication every day and I help clean their homes and wash their dishes. I take my kit that has pampers, linen saver, soap, a facecloth and gloves. I use this kit to protect me from other infections.

Some of my clients don’t want to disclose their status to their families which is why they end up living alone. I love my work because it makes me strong and allows me to help my community learn about HIV and AIDS.

Now I am a community champion and I am living openly with my HIV status. Yet I am unemployed and don’t get a salary, only sometimes a small stipend when funds are available.

I began my antiretroviral treatment in 2005 and I am healthier than I was before. The people in my community love me very much and I love to work hand-in-hand with them. I always advise my clients to wash their hands before they eat and to always eat healthy food, use protection and exercise.

I love my organisation because it encourages youth and adults to know more about HIV and AIDS and STI’s and some of my clients become better because of that.

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

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