World AIDS Day 2014: Nomerica's Story

01 December 2014
An HIV ribbon

Our World AIDS Day 2014 blog brings together voices from the field to share perspectives on the HIV epidemic on this day of remembrance and solidarity. This blog series includes messages from AVERT’s CEO, our partner, the Umunthu Foundation, and a case study from our South African partner, Sisonke. The blog also features guest pieces from the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, and the Key Correspondents programme.

Nomerica Kawuti, a beneficiary of the Sisonke Project, South Africa

Nomerica Kawuti is 69 years old and lives in the Eastern Cape of South Africa with her six grandchildren and one of her daughters.

HIV and AIDS have had a devastating effect on families in the region leaving many grandparents, like Nomerica, looking after children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illness.

Like many elderly people in the area, Nomerica had become disempowered and lacked a sense of purpose outside looking after the children, but thanks to AVERT funding, the ‘Sisonke project’ has provided Nomerica with the knowledge and power to reinstate herself in the community and to spread knowledge about HIV and AIDS.

As a ‘Gogogetter’ (‘gogo’ means grandmother’) Nomerica now participates in traditional dancing and sports (her speciality is rugby ball throwing), she’s learned to grow food to support her family and is a spokesperson for the project.

Describing how it feels to be part of Sisonke, Nomerica said: “It's like I'm in heaven. I can now supplement my family’s food with what I grow in the garden, I also swap and sell food from my garden.

“If I have a problem I know where to go. One time my granddaughter was being molested, through Sisonke I got advice on who to call, and I was referred to social services. Now she receives counselling and is much happier.

“I'm so thankful for this group as it has done a lot for me.”

To support Nomerica and others like her, please make a donation to AVERT this World AIDS Day – the funds will ensure that the Sisonke project can continue it’s fantastic work and reach others in the area, so that they can see the same benefits as Nomerica.

Photo credit:
Copyright AVERT