I have always wanted to be a nurse, however that requires schooling and I could not afford to go to school. I did not have the money or the time. I woke up and worked hard so that we [could] be able to live the next day.
Fazila was eight years old when her mother abandoned her and her two-year-old sister Shakira to remarry in neighboring Mozambique.
They were offered a place to stay in the compound where they lived in Mangochi, near the southern end of Lake Malawi. But they had to pay a (reduced) rent and for necessities such as food and soap. Fazila made ends meet by collecting firewood and selling it at the local market.
Fast forward seven years to when the girls met Jixon Mponda, a community resource person with One Community, a program aimed at preventing and linking with services those most vulnerable to the impacts of HIV in Malawi. He developed a plan aimed at helping the girls out of their grim situation.
One of the services they received was HIV testing. Both girls were immediately linked to treatment. They received emergency support of around $40 U.S. dollars a month, which covered their rent, blankets, soap, food and cooking oil. They are now attending school, with their fees covered. And Fazila is attending a Go Girls! club, a support group that has helped her make new friends and has taught her about her health, financial literacy and more.
Fazila never imagined this would happen to her.
“I have always wanted to be a nurse, however that requires schooling and I could not afford to go to school,” she recalled. “I did not have the money or the time. I woke up and worked hard so that we [could] be able to live the next day.”