Reportage

UNAIDS and partners launch ‘living positively’ book in Tanzania

17 February 2006

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When young Tanzanian Vumilia Omar told her husband she had tested HIV positive, his reaction was one of anger and fury. “He didn’t want to look at me or our children,” she said, telling how her husband then left the family home taking all their possessions with him and leaving Vumilia and her children with nothing and nowhere to go.

Over time, Vumilia has slowly rebuilt her life – seeking advice from counselors and choosing to stand up against the stigma and discrimination she has often faced because of her HIV status. She now runs a successful tomato-selling business in the markets of Dar-es-Salaam and discusses her experiences as a young mother living with HIV in her own column in a popular magazine.

“I use more and more of my time to educate people on HIV and give advice to young people about living positively and how to live with hope,” she said.

Vumilia’s story is one of a collection of 26 similar testimonials of Tanzanians ‘living positively’ with HIV that feature in the book ‘Yaliyopita Si Ndwele’ (Life goes on), which was launched today in Dar-es-Salaam.

The book – produced jointly by UNAIDS and non-governmental organization FEMINA-HIP, with funding from Development Cooperation Ireland – was launched by UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot at a special ceremony held as part of the high-level joint mission to the country of HRH Princess Mathilde of Belguim and the Executive Directors of UNAIDS and UNICEF.

The joint mission is visiting Tanzania from 14-17 February to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges AIDS poses for children and young people and the country’s AIDS response to date.

At the book launch ceremony, one of the collection’s authors, 13-year old Irene Kabaka, gave a statement to the delegation before handing a special copy of the book to HRH Princess Mathilde.

“Although there are only 26 stories, I am sure many people will relate to them,” she said.

In the foreword of the book, the head of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), Major General Lupogo said, “I’m impressed with the bravery of all who have broken the silence, by sharing their stories. They give strength and understanding to other citizens who will now understand their situation with empathy and humility,” he added.

‘Yaliyopita Si Ndwele’ (Life goes on) is available in Swahili. For more information, please contact FEMINA-HIP at femina-hip@raha.com

Read Vumilia’s full story from the collection, in English  

Read the foreword of the collection by Major General Lupogo, Head of TACAIDS 

Read Irene Kabaka’s statement at the book launch ceremony  

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