Saturday, February 11, 2012

Living with HIV-Infected Parents

Brenda, Age 16

My family struggles because of HIV. Both my mother and father have the disease. We are peasant farmers, but with my parents weak and sick all the time, we often don’t produce enough for a surplus.

School fees are a big problem. Most terms, I talk to the head teacher at my school so that I can pay my fees bit by bit [rather than at the start of the term]. My head teacher is understanding, and usually allows this, but by the end of the year, we often haven’t made the full payment.
When my parents are sick, there is much more work to do at home. I am the oldest, so I need to take care of the younger children. I also have to tend our crop and cook, so my education is not always the priority.

There is an uncle who sometimes helps when my parents need to go to the hospital, but now he is sick too.

Most of the community is supportive of my family. At times, neighbors will fetch water when I am in school so that my parents have enough to drink.

Last year, we were given two goats as a form of livelihood support from an NGO. The goats produced twins. When these goats multiply again, we will sell one to help pay school fees. With my parents sick, I make the goat rearing and business decisions for my family.
There are very many families like my own in Northern Uganda who need assistance because of HIV/AIDS. I am so grateful for the little support we’ve received so my siblings and me can go to school.

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