Six Stories of Youth Who Inspire - International Youth Day 2017
In honor of International Youth Day, we share stories from around the world of youth who inspire their peers and us. The current generation of youth is the largest in history – they are the future.
A BOY GROWS INTO A MAN THROUGH TEEN CLUB
“If the teen club did not exist, it would be difficult to understand and accept my HIV status,” says Pemphero. “Taking the treatment would be so hard. But I have learned from teen club that I can be healthy. I no longer think about killing myself. I realize that there are many young kids with the same status as mine. I realize that I can get a job.
ADOLESCENT CHAMPION SUPPORTS OTHERS ON TREATMENT
Reagan is a peer leader in the facility and co-facilitates the monthly PSSG meetings with the health care workers. The peer leaders or “champions” are adolescent leaders who are living with HIV, adhere to their treatment and have achieved viral suppression. They receive capacity building and mentorship on interpersonal and mobilization skills to enable them reach their peers to access health services.
THE WASHINGTON-KAMPALA CONNECTION
Josephine Nabukenya, 21, an ambassador for EGPAF, is visiting Children's National to learn about pediatric HIV treatment in the United States and to meet Levi. As a young woman who grew up living with HIV in Kamapala, Uganda, Josephine is in D.C. to talk to legislators about the importance of funding HIV prevention and treatment programs abroad. But she is also curious about the experiences of a young person in the States.
HIV IS NOT THE END
Once a month, these children, ages 9 to 14, come to the hospital to test their viral load, collect antiretroviral drugs, receive psychosocial counseling, and play with their friends. An older group, ages 15 to 20, meets on a different Saturday.
“They feel that they are not neglected by the world. Having HIV is not the end.”
CLEOPHAS BEATS HIV AND MALARIA
Cleophas, an energetic 14-year-old, has suffered several bouts with malaria during the course of her young life. As a 4-year-old, Cleophas received a blood transfusion as treatment for a case of malaria. Unfortunately, the blood supply was not properly vetted at that time, and she was infected with HIV as a result. She hopes to become a nurse someday and help other girls dealing with serious illnesses.
MAMA COUNTY SAYS, “STAY IN SCHOOL”
Lines of adolescent girls descend from school buses and stroll across the grounds of the St. Francis Nyangajo Girls School in Homabay County, Kenya. Chatting and laughing, the girls find their way to seats under tents along the perimeter of the sports field. In all, more than 2,000 girls from area schools fill the space. The buzz of conversation subsides as three of their peers, step onto the stage at the end of the field. The girls recite poems and deliver testimonies about how they have stood up for themselves to stay in school, to avoid HIV, to avoid pregnancy.