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Come Down

“I know you cannot remember me. We met almost two years ago when I was about to die. My name is Rebecca.”  At once the social worker talking to her about her request to become a volunteer recognized the healthy and pretty looking lady in front of him.  

Her always so contented family life with her four children turned into doom over night when her husband discovered her HIV status.
Immediately Rebecca decided to flee to her maternal home where she found out that she was not welcome anymore.  Due to her status she was coldly rejected.
This was the genesis of a long journey, learning to cope with a life full of agony and abandonment.  

Rebecca together with her children moved to another village where she rented a house and started a small charcoal business for their upkeep. Over time her health status deteriorated and business went down. At this particular moment she met an area volunteer of St. Martin CSA who referred her to the Community Programme of HIV/AIDS Alcohol and Drug Abuse. The programme’s counsellor introduced Rebecca to one of their support groups for other people living with HIV/AIDS. In these groups she did not only find a lot of support and encouragement from the other members but also had access to medication, information and the opportunity to be socio-economically empowered by the Community Programmes for Savings and Micro Credit .

The community volunteer stood by her in all her challenges. He supported her when she started a small vegetable store but was shunned by other members of that locality. He mobilized the other programme volunteers and together they created awareness within their area.  
Convincing the community to come down from their high ground; convincing them to no longer hide behind their ‘safe status’ and accept their own weaknesses as well as those of others; convincing them to see the potential of those who are considered less. It is after this intervention that the attitude of the community changed towards Rebecca and her family. They became accepted and loved members in the community and received support when needs arose.

Currently Rebecca is able to maintain the whole family, all the children are in school and they are doing fine.
Her only remaining hope is that one day her relatives will ‘come down’ too and accept her back.

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