Ajija is a Grandmother Working for the Women of Hope. She wrote us describing how the Women of Hope has helped her in her life.
I was married with two children when I found out I was HIV positive. It was 2002. I was sick so I went to the hospital, and they did some tests. Then they discovered HIV. They sent me to the counselor. I could not believe it. My eyes were open, but I was seeing dark. At first I didn’t think the sickness was too serious, but when they told me it was HIV, I knew it was the new terrible disease I had been hearing about on the television and radio. I was thinking of nothing more than death at that time. People with HIV were dying a lot at that time. I heard about the sewing program when I went for a support group at a big hospital. I learned about Mashiah Foundation. The Women of Hope sewing program started from me! Mashiah Foundation gave me medicine and told me to take the medicine with good food. The problem was I didn’t have any food in my house. I told Daddy Bayo, “Thank you for the medicine, but I don’t have any food to take it with.” He checked his pockets, but he didn’t have any money. He went out and borrowed some money and gave it to me. The next week the same thing happened. He asked his wife to start a sewing program for HIV positive women so they could earn money to take care of themselves. This was in 2003, and look how many women have been given a new lease on life. I don’t know my age, but I’m a mother of 2 and a grandmother of 5. I started ARVs in 2004. I’m still taking them faithfully. In fact, I am short of words regarding how grateful I am for the work at the Women of Hope. This is what is keeping me alive. I am grateful that this place has embraced me regardless of HIV. Even in the church, people used to move away from me. I am proud of my working place. People used to run away from me, but now that I am earning money, people are coming back to me. I truly am short of words. I have recently relocated to be closer to my working place so I don’t have to pay transport money. This place has given me courage.