31 - Jul - 2007
|On 26 and 27 July last, the Association “Women for dream” met for the second time in Malawi, first in Blantyre and later in Lilongwe.
This was an eagerly anticipated appointment because in recent months the number of members of the Association has grown swiftly. What’s more, a substantial amount of work has been undertaken by one and all to contribute to the development of a greater consciousness of the civil rights of HIV-positive people in Malawi. A number of local initiatives have already been planned.
The meetings that were held on 26 and 27 July were very crowded: 160 and 130 people respectively attended. All women and men for a dream, the dream of the DREAM programme. Many of them are receiving treatment at the centres of Blantyre, Mthengo wa Ntenga (Lilongwe), and Balaka.
|These undoubtedly represent different realities, cities and villages with different horizons, but anyhow they experience a big common problem: AIDS. Today, thanks to DREAM, they share also the possibility of treatment.
It is from here that the gratitude and joy of so many spring. Noel said as much when he spoke up: “I was so very thin, my skin was like that of a fish, everyone was afraid of me. They told me that if I took an HIV test, I would be dead for sure, but then a DREAM campaigner spoke to me about herself… I went to the centre, I accepted to be treated and now I am well.”
Rediscovered health is a gift which allows a return to active life, but which also prompts one to open up to others, especially towards those who are sick. Noel continued: “Today I am a witness too! And I am happy that together we can help others. We must all be witnesses of a treatment that works.”
|Ruth and other infected people described some aspects of the reality facing HIV-positive women: “It is believed that AIDS is because of women, their fault. Some think that if a woman is HIV-positive, then she is a prostitute. Some women are actually chased out of the house because of this, even if they have children. They must leave, without taking anything with them, which means dying of want. This is why we must fight ignorance in our villages and speak to everyone, especially to our relatives, not to be afraid anymore. We must support each other and together build a new way of looking at the disease.”
Talking and listening, many women start to discern the possibility of defeating a discriminatory mentality, but also of giving birth to a different culture, a culture of life.
|“There, where we live,” added another, “we should acknowledge each other, greet each other, protect one another. But let’s go to hospitals too, to sick people. Let’s help them. Let’s become visible, showing others how happy we are today, thanks to the DREAM programme.” |
The need to feel united and in solidarity is a pressing one. This