Get Up Speak Out! (GUSO)

Get Up Speak Out! (GUSO)

Dazzled to find out we also have sexual rights

Magret is a young Malawian and active member of a youth club. Although the youth club encourages sharing of issues amongst members, Magret had one mind bobbling issue she was not comfortable sharing. Afraid of the reaction from her community once her HIV status would be revealed, she vowed to keep the secret to herself.

Get Up Speak Out

How come that when you see Magret nowadays, you see a radiant, confident peer educator dedicated to support young people living with HIV regarding treatment adherence? Her courage was ignited when Magret came to know about the Get Up Speak Out (GUSO) project in Malawi. “I was dazzled to find out that people living with HIV also have sexual rights!”, Magret tells.

Magret

Elected as chair

Because of her inquisitive mind about sexual rights, the Coalition of Women Living with HIV/AIDS trained Magret to become a peer educator. As a volunteer Magret started advocating for young people’s sexual health and rights and educating her fellows about youth friendly services. Interacting with peers built her self-esteem and leadership qualities. As a result fellow youth elected Magret as chair of a newly established treatment adherence support group called Thandizo.

Over the moon

One of the most remarkable achievements in her life was when she was selected as GUSO district ambassador representing all the young people under GUSO project. “The selection made me feel over the moon because being a young person living with HIV I thought I couldn’t make it”, says Magret. “I am very proud of myself now, the thought that I save many young lives through my voluntary work is a very handsome reward. My life now has a purpose and its impact is visible.”

The Coalition of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (COWLHA) envisions a Malawi where girls and women living with HIV lead healthy lives, are self-reliant and have their rights fully respected. COWLHA through GUSO project has increasingly helped to create a suitable environment for young people living with HIV to be able to realise and advocate for their health rights, to freely access SRHR services as well as improved quality SRHR services through training of community leaders, health services providers, religious leaders and establishment of youth friendly health corners. Within Thandizo project a total of 36 support groups have been founded.

This article was published in the Aidsfonds Young People & HIV e-news Feb 2020 edition. Do you want to receive this newsletter in the future? Sign up

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