In 2008 Asanda* found out that she was pregnant. She was 22 at the time and had just moved to Cape Town from Klerksdorp to live with her father and two brothers. She was scared of her father and did not want to tell him about being pregnant so she hid the pregnancy and did not book at a clinic. Before she reached term Asanda had an accident, she ended up in hospital where her baby girl was born prematurely at 1.365kg. In hospital Asanda found out that she was HIV positive, the baby’s first HIV test came back as negative but was later retested and found to be positive.
For the first three months of her life the baby was very sick and constantly in and out of hospital. Once she received the correct medication she became more stable and Asanda was referred to the Kuyasa clinic where she and the baby attended regular appointments.
In 2010 both mother and child were doing well and were discharged. Asanda was referred to the Philani clinic in Mayibuye where she would receive milk and porridge products for the baby on a weekly basis. Asanda had no support or way of earning an income; she was trying her best to do the right thing for her daughter but her resources were very limited and she was unable to afford food for herself. Her health was not very good and she was very underweight.
Philani sent a Mentor Mother to Asanda’s home to offer her support and guidance and to ensure that her child’s growth was not faltering. Because Asanda was doing the best that she could with what she had, Philani assisted her by providing her with a stipend from the Desmond Tutu Relief Fund to allow her to buy food. At this time Asanda was living alone in a shack that was leaking and with a door that couldn’t close. She said that you could see inside when you were outside through all the gaps.
Asanda’s Mentor Mother suggested that she request assistance from the Philani Family Fund (PFF). The fund assisted Asanda by building her a new shack that was secure and water tight. In 2012 when Asanda’s little girl was four, her Mentor Mother suggested that she send her to the Philani Educare in Mayibuye where she is now doing very well as a Grade R pupil. In 2013 Asanda approach PFF again, this time with a request for support in furthering her education. Inspired by our Mentor Mothers, she wanted to study Home Based Care at Healthnicon.
She completed and passed her course last year and in 2015 will be starting her studies to become an enrolled nurse. In her spare time Asanda volunteers at Philani in order to pay off her PFF loans. She is an example to us all; rather than losing herself in the desperation of her circumstances she used the opportunities presented to her to make a better life for herself and her daughter.
* Name has been changed to protect client