I have no hesitation

I have no hesitation

As chairperson of the HIV association in Bishan Guracha, Ethiopia, Aregash was the first person to be open about her HIV status. It was a difficult time. Stigma was very, very high and people were hiding themselves. Aregash openly takes her medication without any shame and hopes to encourage others to do the same.

Aregash speaking during a meeting Aregash speaking during a meeting

Strengthening the local HIV association
"Our HIV association used to be very weak. Our members did not feel important because of lack in capacity and skills. We were stigmatized and hid ourselves. Aidsfonds supported us in becoming a transparent organisation with a clear structure and appropriate legal documents. On top of that we are trained in leadership, management and how to best support people living with HIV in our community.

This all made us feel so empowered. Before we were keeping our heads down and look at us now. We have more self-esteem and are ready to work towards fully supporting ourselves. The association already managed to save 3000 birr (€115). A promising step towards sustainability. As chairperson of the HIV association I can proudly say that we are making a difference, both in our members’ lives and the entire community."

Significant change for the better
"With the Aidsfonds Livelihoods Programme only one year underway, I noticed stigma has not completely vanished, but the situation has significantly changed for the better. People come to my home because they don’t know what to do. I always advise to take medication on time, to take care for themselves and to be open so they can be supported."

Proud to be a role model
"I’m thankful for the support and change. I’m inspired to mobilize people living with HIV more and create hope and a future for them. We left the back of the kitchen. I have no hesitation. We are visible now and I’m proud to be a role model."

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