Insights - Ruedi Lüthy Foundation

Zimbabwe

Insights: Rumbidzai

Support for a better life

Rumbidzai is a patient at Newlands Clinic for almost 15 years. Being HIV-positive herself, she lost her husband and three of her children because of Aids. The 54-year-old mother is looking after her family all by herself and is providing food to all of them.

«I need to live – who else is looking after my family?»

Rumbi fights every day to make sure that her family survives. She knows how to grow maize thanks to the farming program at Newlands Clinic. She feeds her whole family with the maize she harvests. In the video she is talking about her biggest dream – for her granddaughter to have a better life.

Insights: Simba

Optimistic about the future despite HIV

Simba was born HIV-positive. His mother died of AIDS when he was six years old. In the same year he came to Newlands Clinic, where he received medical help as well as attention and support. It changed his life.

“I have a dream!”

Watch Simba's eyes light up in the video when he talks about his dream of becoming a doctor one day. He wants to help as many suffering people as possible in his country.

Insights: Magret und Rosaline

Fashioning a better future 

There was a time when Magret and Rosaline had nothing to do. Then they were able to set up a small company thanks to the vocational skills training programme for young people run by Newlands Clinic. «Unlimited Fashions» makes home textiles – and has opened up a whole new range of prospects for the young women.

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1/5: Magret (on the left) and Rosaline took part in the vocational skills training programme, and set up their own company together with a young man.

2/5: They cannot afford to pay rent, so their company is based for the time being in Magret's grandmother's living room.

3/5: The sewing machine was provided to the young patients as basic equipment. Their only problem is the frequent power cuts, but this should soon be solved with a solar panel.

4/5: "Unlimited Fashions" sells bedding, cushion covers and home textiles at local markets and to order.

5/5: Magret (on the left with her small daughter) and Rosaline (on the right) receive regular visits from their mentor, Tonderai, who supports them in dealing with problems.
(Photos: Patrick Rohr)

Magret and Rosaline meet us in Mbare, a high-density suburb of Harare. They want to show us their company "Unlimited Fashions", which they set up with a young man, Enoch. All three are patients at Newlands Clinic, but there is nothing apparent to suggest that they are HIV-positive and require life-long treatment.

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Magret, Rosaline and Enoch attended the vocational skills training programme aimed at helping young patients to support themselves. This is desperately needed because young people with HIV not only suffer from stigmatisation, they also have scarcely any career prospects given the dreadful state of the economy. «We just used to sit around all day,» says Magret. Many become depressed because of the difficult situation; young women often marry young and have children, even though they are unable to look after them.

The dream of running a shop

Both Magret and Rosaline already have a child, but they are fortunate in having a support network around them – and with Unlimited Fashions they now also have a small source of income. Competition is tough, but with the help of their mentor they are sticking at it. In the living room, cushion covers and bedding lie ready to be sold at the local market. Enoch is out buying material, Magret busy at the sewing machine, and Rosaline is getting the fabric ready. Their small children sleep in the next room.

«We would like to open a shop,» the young women tell us. There may be a lot of work still ahead, but they are clearly making the most of the opportunity that has presented itself.