I will be able to continue my business independently

I will be able to continue my business independently

Tigist is 34 years old. She lives with three of her children in Bishan Guracha, Ethiopia. Her oldest son lives with her brother in Harar, around 600 km away. Tigist had to give him away as she could not support all four children. When her husband died life became even more struggling for her. She recently found out she is living with HIV. Thanks to the Livelihoods Programme of Aidsfonds, Tigist managed to change her life in a positive way.

Tigist in her restaurant Tigist in her restaurant

I tried to make ends meet by selling fish soup

"I felt very uncomfortable not having enough income to provide for daily living for my children and this worried me a lot. After my husband died seven years ago, it became even more challenging. My last born was only three months old at that time. I tried to make ends meet by preparing and selling fish soup but it was on a very small scale.

After receiving support from Aidsfonds last year I managed to professionalize my business. I learned how to serve my customers better and how to keep track of my income and expenditure. With the profit I made I bought a bigger pan so I can make more fish soup and I can buy herbs to spice up my soup. At home I bake bread that I bring to my stall to sell with the soup. I even hired an assistant to clean the dishes. I never dared to dream to ever reach this far with my business! After this support from Aidsfonds ends, I am confident that I will be able to continue my business independently and successfully."

Next year I will be able to pay school fees for my children

"I found out only recently that I’m HIV positive. I somehow always had this feeling and wanted a test to be certain. So now I know. Despite being tested positive I strongly believe that I can live my life normally. I started medication and first shared my status with some people close to me. Now I’m ready to talk about it with everyone in my community and I take my medication every day.

Due to the additional educational support I receive, my children are back in school. They are seven, eight and twelve years old now and in grade one, two and six. My kids don’t have anyone except me and when I think of this I get emotional. I’m always worried about them. I want to feel strong and live long and healthy. So that I don’t have to worry. Next year I will be able to pay for their school myself. My oldest will start university in Harar this year. When I have saved enough, I will visit him.

After so many years of struggling, I’m having a well running business and my children are doing well in school. They are healthy, and love school. This makes me feel happy, really so happy! Life is good and changing in a positive way."


Tigist at work Tigist at work

HIV and Livelihoods

HIV and livelihoods are very much interlinked. Lack of income increases vulnerability to HIV and similarly HIV affects ones livelihoods. Lack of financial means and nutrition negatively influences adherence to HIV treatment. Poverty and stigma fuels the spread of the epidemic.

The Aidsfonds Livelihoods Programme in Ethiopia focuses on preventing  the spread of HIV and mitigating its impacts through economic strengthening of vulnerable groups, such as people living with HIV, low income households, and marginalized women and children. It is aimed at economically empowering these groups, by creating access to financial means and skill development for engagement in productive livelihood activities.

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