Rundu-First Lady Monica Geingos after her recent interaction with members of the Kavango People Living with HIV Forum (KAHIVFO) undertook to assist the HIV-support group.
Her visit to Sikanduko a rural community on the outskirts of Rundu where KAHIVFO is based took place last week.
Geingos also invited members of the support group to visit her office, where modalities of assistance could be worked out.
“Today we came here with nothing but our ears. We are here to listen. After this meeting I’m going to ask your coordinator to bring about five to ten people, comprising of various age groups, young people, old grannies and others, so we can talk and listen to what your problems are, because it is not possible to help solve any problem if you don’t know what the issue is,” Geingos noted.
“I can already see – listening to what I have been told and reading the letter that you sent me in January – that a lot of the problems you have are [covered by] programmes that you can benefit from. The programme around the children, we can provide some nutritional support. I think within the next month we will send a truck of fish to this community,” she said.
Beatrice Sitali, the community coordinator of KAHIVFO, told Geingos that the forum was formed after the Positive Vibes Trust Namibia funded programme, Positive Health Dignity and Prevention (PHDP), ended in 2005.
Sitali and other members of the support group realised the need to form and organise a forum to provide support, as well as represent the concerns of people living with HIV in the region, which they were able to start in 2015.
“We realised that we cannot leave our people and support groups just like that, because the more people sit under trees they have dreams and visions, so we thought there should be something that can be done. Something was missing and it was this project and we realised we were not having a voice in the region and we wanted a forum, where people can say ‘we, who are living with HIV’ and ‘we, who are orphans’ to speak for the HIV infected and affected people,” Sitali said.
Sitali further told Geingos that the forum currently has 397 members and 30 support groups in Kavango East Region. It renders support and counselling to people living with HIV, so they can live positively and work to ensure women are empowered through income-generating projects.
“The forum has already trained 38 of its members in crop farming, animal husbandry and poultry in order for them to sustain themselves by putting food on the table,” she explained.
On her part First Lady Geingos said this would not be the last time she visits that community and that she, like her husband President Hage Geingob, would certainly keep her word.