Thursday, July 30, 2009

We Belong to Them: The Story of Zaida

The HIV/AIDS epidemic destroys children’s lives by forcing them to assume caregiver and providers role. Most live with and are cared with grandparents or single parent. ROADS project scale up OVC services through integrating systematic intervention, supporting and training volunteers, care givers and community OVC committes and by addressing service delivery issues. By doing so ROADS have improved the lives of many OVC/MVC in Makambako Township.
Zaida is a girl with, seventeen years old for the past three years her life was surrounded by mixture of sadness, isolation and aggression. Zaida is the oldest daughter and has the task of looking after her young sisters. Zaida was living in Makete in a very desperate situation, in 2003 her aunt took to live with her in Makambako. In 2007 things became worse, her aunt failed to continue supporting her and send her back to Makete the family in Makete abandoned her and decided to come back to Makambako where by one of ROADS OVC care provider decided to live with her.

In early 2007, Zaida was registered as OVC /MVC in ROADS project, since then has been benefited from various services and trainings provided by ROADS through care providers. Mligo who is care providers is saying that since Zaida joining ROADS project has changed mentally and physically, she is self reliant and happy. In the mid 2007 the project enrolled her in vocational training where she was attached to local artisans for tailoring skills.

These opportunities provided by ROADS project has provided her with enough skills to be self sustaining and financially independent. Now Zaida through the effort of MVCCs in mobilizing community resources has managed to convince one of the community member to attach her in her office and provide her with working equipments. The money earned are invested in catering services where by three OVC joined together to perform this work. ROADS project have been using the catering services provided by this group of OVC/MVCs during various trainings.

Now Zaida is able to support the rest of her family and herself.

The involvement of community in supporting the development of their communities has been important especially in helping people who are in need, some of the members of the society are able to help other people but they need education and recognition that they can do so.

This has been successfully through the initiative that has been done from one of our plan that the cluster has done on educating the Village Committee from the training on educating the community as one of the strategies that each group of village committee was proposed, where by they use that strategy to educate the villagers to save through village committee and care givers which work hand in hand with our project.

The knowledge obtained from the training enables the Committee to communicate the importance of supporting the most vulnerable children’s by the local people, they are then able to convince their village residents to take personal responsibility for the local MVC/OVC, rather than just leaving their care to work of donors. In Mjimwema A village, the OVC/MVC Committee persuaded village residents to take their own initiative and donate goods such as sugar, soaps, coneflower, maize, rice and groundnuts to the MVC and OVC through Chasawaya which is our anchor project.

We appreciate the initiatives the local community has taken, and feel this sort of personal responsibility is vital to the longevity of our program. Community initiatives provide a sustainable source of goods from the village itself and encourage a level of independence rather than depending on the finite resources of donors such as our donor support, with this initiatives and the education that the villages are receiving from our project they can help themselves in the future to stand on their own though now it is like a dream but we believe that in the future this may produce a good seed of the reality that our project is planting to people by the time being.

They are so many, remember, We belong to them

Elineema Mshana

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