Florence Masuliya

‘Since we started working with awamu we have been able to enrol over over 100 children in school by paying their school fees, providing books and uniforms…

….and more than 250 orphans and women living with HIV have acquired skills in mushroom growing, urban farming, tailoring and business management. Both children and women have gained confidence in themselves to seek for services and demand for their rights.’

“After going through HIV and AIDS counselling with a community worker, I decided to go for an HIV test and the results came back HIV positive.

“It took three months of continuous counselling, comforting and encouragement to be strong and confident before I came to terms with my status. Even though it was difficult, I was not discouraged but instead decided to join the fight to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS.
“Being born in the Bwaise, a slum area of Kampala, I know the living standards of women and girls. Many young girls join street sex workers in order to earn money to survive. I founded Tusitukirewamu (translated means ‘United We Stand’) youth group.
“Seeing how sex work places women in situations that lead to HIV and AIDS, Tusitukirewamu started talking to groups of young girls about HIV and AIDS. Many are young mothers between the age of 15-25. Currently, we have a team of about 70 sex workers in the youth club and with support from the partnership of awamu and ActionAid, we offer training in vocational skills to help them find different ways of earning an income so they can escape a a life of sex work.
“In our work amongst the community we find increasing numbers of orphaned children and grandmas, like Regina, looking after large numbers of grandchildren (ranging between 5-12) in a one-roomed household. These children have lost their parents to HIV and many are living with the disease themselves as it has been transmitted from their mothers.
“As an activist, I have managed to network and link with organisation that help provide Antiretroviral (ARV) medication, treatment for opportunistic infections, food and other material support and services. It is through these connections we met Emma and awamu was born!