Liswani is 17 years old and discovered she was living with HIV in 2019 through a routine TTF community testing day. When she learned about her status, she felt alone and did not have anyone to talk to. Liswani would often come to the clinic, always reserved without saying much. One day she was invited by the TTF counsellors to attend the TTF Girls Club, with the intention to help provide her a support network of peers living with HIV . It was here that this quiet, shy girl revealed her story:
Liswani lived with her stepfather and mother. Only Liswani’s mother knew her status, but one day her stepfather found a bag with her medication and her mother was forced to tell him Liswani had tested positive for HIV. When this occurred everything changed for Liswani. She explained that often her stepfather would throw away any food she prepared for him or even break plates if he saw her using them. She suffered daily stigma and discrimination from her stepfather, and he even stopped paying for her school fees forcing her to drop out of school. With the constant bullying and negativity at home she even thought of committing suicide.
Slowly, with the support of the TTF Girls Club, Liswani began to find solace in her newfound friends and was able to draw strength from their individual experiences of discrimination and how they dealt with it. By opening up to her peers this young girl has blossomed to being a strong confident young woman. By learning about HIV and acceptance at TTF she has been able to speak to her family about HIV, breaking down barriers and improving her relationship with both her parents.
Liswani’s mother was invited to attend a TTF caregiver’s workshop, where she learnt about HIV, how to better support her daughter and speak to her husband about HIV transmission, breaking down the mis-information and stigma.
Today Liswani is virally suppressed and is active in many youth programs offered at TTF. Liswani hopes she will one day be able to go back to school. She wants to be a nurse and help other girls like her.
Your donation allows us to support girls like Liswani. Please consider supporting us to continue running the Girls Club: