Margaret is one of 16 million children orphaned by HIV/AIDS

MargaretI was about ten years old when my mother got sick. I have three sisters, but my mother only took two of us with her after she was divorced.

When she got sick people were afraid to come to the house. Not even her friends came to see her.  She was taking antiretroviral drugs and we often did not have enough food and would go to sleep without eating. My sister worked at a club to help with food and rent for our one room home (400 KSH or $8 USD/month).

So I took care of my mother, because she could not go to the bathroom by herself and she could not bathe herself. Sometimes she got really sick and I would not know what to do. She would cry and I would cry too. When we took her to the hospital, I stayed with her and shared her bed in the hospital.  We were there for about a week. I was in the bed with her when she died.

I did not know that she had died at first. The nurse told me that if the IV fluid was not going through the tube, that I should get her. I had noticed that the fluid had stopped and I went to get the nurse. The nurse told me to leave the room and when I came back in my mother was gone. I remember being confused and crying.

My mother was a good person. She did what she could to support my sisters and I. When my mother died, I felt useless, because there was nothing that I could do. Of all my sisters, no one had an education. They got married, because they had no choice. If I was not in school, I would probably be working as a housekeeper earning 3,500 KSH/Month ($43 USD).

As an Asante Africa Foundation scholar, all of my school fees are paid for. And because I don’t have to worry about paying for school, I have hope that I will be able to complete my education. I know I will accomplish my goals, because I was able to make it through so much. The rest of what is ahead of me, I believe I will overcome. Challenges are here to sharpen us and when challenges are in my way, I will be strong.

I want to be a person who changes people’s lives. I would like to talk to people about HIV/AIDS and educate them about the disease. I would tell parents to be good role models to their children. I would like to help and support orphans affected by AIDS. I want to be their sister, to advise and encourage them. I want them to realize the strength they have within.

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