A Mother's Story... Nomsa (Not her real name) talks to Kate Gray

"In 2000 when my son Lunga was 4 months old he was extremely ill and admitted to hospital. It was a frightening experience as no one could tell me what was wrong and I felt unsupported by the staff. I don't know why the decision was made to transfer him to G25 at Groote Schuur hospital but I thank God that this happened. Here I felt that the staff and other mothers were my friends. At 8 months Lunga was so bad again that he was transferred to specialist facilities. I was told to prepare myself for the fact that he would not live long as there was nothing more that could be done. I was made to feel guilty that his treatment to date had been costly. When many thought that the end had come, I never gave up and he recovered sufficiently to go back to Groote Schuur. It was at this time that I discovered I was HIV positive. I had a job with a family looking after two young children. I decided that it was the right thing to do to disclose my status to my employer. I had not anticipated that she would react by dismissing me. I tried to explain that my medical condition was not a threat to her family, but she was not able to understand. In 2002, when he was 2 and again in G25 I was told about the ARVs and given an opportunity for Lunga to go onto this treatment. I needed to be very brave to make this decision as a lot of people were saying they did not work, but the support and encouragement of the staff made me confident that they would do all they could to help us. This was the beginning of a journey of recovery for my son, my family and myself. It was recovery of the body and the spirit. The doctor was not only concerned about the medicines, but also about the fact that I had lost my job because of my status. He asked if I would be interested to learn beading and said that he would be able to sell the work. One of the mothers with a child in the ward could teach us the skill - and that was the start of the Positive Beadwork Project. I spent my first 'bead money' on buying special formula milk for Lunga, as I preferred this to the formula supplied by the hospital."

While Nomsa and I are talking, Lunga, now 8 years old, is jumping from the table to the floor, running around the clinic, full of energy and curiosity. Nomsa tells me he has a problem - hyperactive at school - a far cry from the little baby who spent so much of his early life in hospital. I see this mother's experience of medical care for her family at the Groote Schuur Pediatric clinic as an example of the vision of the Kidzpositive Family Fund expressed by Dr Roux "It enhances medical care by doing a bit more than the usual - caring for the whole person and her family, which helps people accept their situation and feel valued as human beings, part of a community and able to help themselves."

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Ndebele cards

Our new product 'Ndebele cards' feature beautiful ethnic designs on beaded squares with a pin attached so you are buying more than just a card and your purchase is supporting a family affected by HIV/AIDS. The beadwork can be worn as a brooch or pinned to a bag. The cards are R20 each and can be ordered from beads@kidzpositive.org or inquiries to
+27 21 686 9710.