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Hear Our Voices - Southern Africa Region - Swaziland

Food helps Thandie cope with AIDS

I am Thandie Gina.  I am 47 years old and the mother of seven children.  I tested positive for HIV earlier this year.  After my husband died of AIDS two years ago, I had to look after my four school-aged children and two grandchildren.  My older children are working, but it is my eldest sister, Grace Mavimbela, who supports our family most by growing tomatoes, cabbages, spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes in her vegetable garden. It was my eldest daughter who advised me to go and get tested for HIV/AIDS. I appreciate her advice as now that I know which nutritional diet is recommended for HIV-affected, and I follow it, I am feeling much better.

Thandie and her family live in Mndobandoba in Swaziland, one of the hardest-hit drought areas in the country.  They started receiving World Food Programme food aid in August 2002.  The community had a zero harvest in the previous planting season. Thandie says that food aid has greatly improved her health. She was bed-ridden before WFP food distributions began. Thandie's family used to live on the income her husband earned. They also grew maize in their backyard. But for the past three years, drought has destroyed their crops.  Before food aid from WFP, they used to beg from neighbours and rely on the help of relatives.

Now she has more energy to work around the household.  Her younger children benefit from WFP CSB that is given as a morning snack at their primary schools. "Every morning they run to school to receive their breakfast. With full stomachs, they can learn more", Thandie concludes. It is Thandie's dream to see her children continue schooling until high school or beyond.

Photo: WFP

 

Copyright  2003  UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs