Esther

Esther is 16-years old. She is a paternal orphan who lives with her mother in Harare. Both Esther and her mother are living with HIV. Esther has been participating in the Zvandiri support group program since 2005, when she was diagnosed with HIV. She has been on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), but there were difficulties adhering to her treatment when she went to boarding school in 2007, as there was no one to help her remember to take her medication. She later left boarding school and returned to Harare where she started attending the support group program again.

In August 2008, Esther became pregnant, but her boyfriend denied any responsibility. Africaid, a Children First partner, referred Esther to Newlands Clinic for recommencement of ART and PPTCT. She was enrolled in the ART program, and also received extensive counseling from both Africaid and the clinic. The community coordinator also provided counseling for her mother and facilitated a referral to Justice for Children Trust (JCT) so that legal advice could be sought. JCT confirmed that Esther had a statutory rape case but that there was also a potential case of non-disclosure/HIV transmission. The family agreed not to pursue the case. Esther and her mother have required considerable counseling, however, Esther now has a healthy, HIV-negative baby boy. She is giving him formula and they are both being cared for at the clinic. As a 16-year old, HIV-positive single mother, Ester is no longer able to attend school. Africaid asked her if there is a vocational skill she would like to learn which would enable her to earn some income. Esther indicated that she would like to be trained as a hairdresser, and Africaid funded her training in hair braiding. While Esther's situation posed considerable challenges, Children First was able to assist her with effective counseling, referrals and skills training which have in turn transformed her quality of life.