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22 May May 2018 1250 22 May 2018

Florence Apolot: "Now I know my value"

Florence, 43 years old HIV-positive woman from Northern Uganda, tells her story of change thanks to Meeting Point international

Florence EDD

I’m 43, and I’m from the eastern part of Uganda. Before my encounter with Meeting Point International, I was so desperate, being isolated by my own people because they discovered that I am infected with HIV.

I had so many symptoms on my body, rashes and consistent cough... I was waiting for my death because I had seen so many people die even I had before a sister who died in 1998, also I knew there wasn’t a treatment for HIV and no prevention for me.

My People believed that when one had HIV/AIDS it was better to isolate that person as you wait for him or her to die. No one would buy for you drugs or take you to the hospital because everyone believed that it was a waste of money. This situation made me loose the hope of life; I lost interest in everything, always sad not even in the position to move out of the house.

After a long period of suffering, my sister came from the capital, Kampala, to see me. She spoke to me about Meeting Point International, I knew nothing of it and she continued to speak of her friendship with Rose, I said “Now, if my people isolated me, saying when you seat near somebody, you will infect the other. Won't they also isolate me?” After thinking about it, I went to Meeting Point International and I found many women attending adult literacy, I sat in the corner fearing that if all they discover what I had they would also isolate me. At the end of the course I met Amito Teddy Bongomin, a MPI social worker who invite me to always come even if I hadn’t told her my problem. My sister encouraged me to keep going and stay with the women, I accepted but with fear, until I met Aunt Rose. The way she looked at me made me to tell her immediately about my status, she said “Things will be fine, you are not the only one. There are a lot of people who are HIV positive and are alive and they are those who have produced, gone to the university when they are positive.” Don’t worry, you will be fine, we have a clinic here, as and a nurse, if you are not feeling well? You can come here and get treated.”

Aunt Rose spoke to me about my value, at that moment it was difficult to accept because I always thought that those who have the value are ones who studied and me, I was nothing. But the more I stayed with her and the women the more I became aware of my value and I started treating my children whom I had hated because of the disease with the value, I am grateful for this because Meeting point gave me the hope of life that I had lost.

Meeting point international

MPI is active in Uganda since 1992. It accompanies women and girls victims of war along an educational path to the discovery of their value and dignity and to self-awareness. This discovery is considered the starting point of a sustainable development, the necessary pre-condition for economic empowerment. AVSI has been supporting MPI since the beginning thanks to a partnership that involves both institutional donors and the solidarity of private citizens.

MPI and AVSI use a multi-sectoral approach: it offers women protection, health and education services as well as income-generating activities, Savings and Loans Groups, financial literacy, production of handicrafts with training for improving quality of products and export abroad.

Find out more: meetingpoint-int.org

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