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 counselors to attend the TTF Girls Club, with the intention of help provide her with 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 learned about HIV, how to better support her daughter, and how to speak to her husband about HIV transmission, breaking down the misinformation 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:
Blessings, 14, is shy. I can see she has a lot of potential if she was given the right opportunities in life. But she doesn't make friends easily. She stigmatizes herself and withdraws, denying herself the support network she desperately needs to shine.
I sit with her and talk to her about living with HIV. With support from TTF her mum told her she is HIV+. To help her understand what this means Blessings is attending a children's support group. She is learning about HIV and how to live healthily.
She is clever and explains brilliantly about the things she has learned. She says she feels better having made friends at the support group but I know she often sits to the side, quietly taking in the scenes around her, too shy to interact with her peers.
I ask Blessings how she feels about living with HIV. She tells me she feels bad. She says she hears people saying things about people living with HIV that make her feel bad about herself. Even with HIV education she continues to self stigmatize.
But it doesn’t have to be this way for Blessings.
Our staff take their time to get to know her needs beyond HIV treatment, they will help her find a way to feel good about herself.
We make the TTF clinic a place where confidence and independence can be gained. But this doesn't happen overnight and we cant do it alone. More than ever we need your help to change lives.This year we are aiming to raise $20,000 to support the Tiny Tim & Friends Clinic and we need your support.
I urge you to give a child like Blessings a gift this Christmas by donating to Tiny Tim & Friends. Your support ensures Blessings, and many other children like her can get the right treatment, care and counseling they need to thrive in life.
Jac Connell, Director, Tiny Tim & Friends Zambia.
The staff and board at Tiny Tim & Friends are committed to continuing our work and developing programs to support even more HIV+ children and adolescents live healthy, positive lives. Our donors and supporters have enabled TTF to pilot many new interventions over the years which have allowed us to change the lives of thousands of HIV+ individuals. WE CONTINUE TO NEED YOUR SUPPORT IN CHANGING LIVES.
Adolescent girls are twice as likely to get infected with HIV as their male counterparts. And many adolescents do not feel empowered to access contraception, do not feel empowered to ask their partner to wear use condoms, or do not know where to access contraception from in order to protect themselves from infection.
When some of our adolescent peer mentors came to us recently to suggest setting up youth friendly services at the TTF Clinic, we were excited to hear about their ideas. Our aim is to support them to develop a youth focused project which could not only help us in retaining our existing adolescent patients into treatment but in identifying new patients to reach out to and providing a safe space for young people to come and access information and services.
IT COSTS LESS THAN $7,000 TO SET UP AND RUN OUR YOUTH FRIENDLY SERVICE FOR 6 MONTHS.
The purpose of the youth friendly center would be to provide youth led HIV testing, counselling, sexual reproductive health information, access to condoms and referral services for those in need of HIV treatment, or other health and counselling services. We would also run community based outreach services, led by our teen mentors and youth counselors, with the purpose of encouraging HIV testing in the community around the TTF Clinic and to encourage individuals to come to the clinic for testing and information services.
Finally the youth groups want to establish chess clubs, sports teams and activity groups to provide a much needed distraction from some of the vices, such as alcohol and drug abuse, which are too easily accessible to the vulnerable populations we work with.
We are more than confident that with the right funding, and guidance from the TTF management and social work teams our peer mentors can set up services which supports adolescents in:
BUT WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT. IT WOULD COST US LESS THAN $7,000 TO ESTABLISH AND RUN OUR YOUTH FRIENDLY CENTER FOR 6 MONTHS, DURING WHICH TIME THE YOUTH WOULD LOOK TO UNDERTAKE FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES OF THEIR OWN IN LUSAKA TO SUPPORT THEIR CONTINUED OPERATIONS. PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING OUR WORK BY DONATING TO TTF TODAY!(Please state the purpose of your donation on the donation page)