Guest Speakers

Presentations by Martha Judith Naigwe, Second Forum

Presentations by Young People
Martha Judith Naigwe, Uganda

My name is Martha Judith Naigwe, I was born on 02nd October 1986 to Mr. David Kyama and Cissy Muyiisa. My father was an Accountant and my mother, a nurse.

My father died on 07th July 1995 and my mother in 1999 leaving behind seven children six girls and one boy, thank God only two of us are HIV positive!!!

It was then that we had to be distributed among relatives because no one would take all of us. Everything happened so quickly, before we internalized my fathers death, my mother started falling sick and then died and then moving us and being taken away from each other, but thank God that at least we had people who were willing to take care of us, we have seen so many children abandoned in their homes!

I was taken up by my aunt, Margaret Naigwe Wamweta. In 2000, I was 15 years old then, I sunk into depression and was a situation of total hopelessness which meant end of laughter, end of hope and good times!!

At home, no one would understand what I was going through or ever understood my problem, yet my aunt is a nurse who had been dealing with people having AIDS. At school, my classmates were wondering why I am not like rest of them?

As a child, I used to wonder how this came about, death of your mother and your father!!! Taking care of my father when I was a little girl of 10 years old hence not knowing how to go on about it, that puzzle is still vivid in my mind. Of course I'm not the
person I was then, a lot has changed, I have grown up and have had tremendous positive experiences which have kept me hopeful.

In 2001, I was very sick and had lost hope, I was asked if I could write a poem and perhaps be able to read it at the "Prevention of the Mother to Child Transmission" Conference, in Sept of the same year, I said I would and that is how I happen to be here...

The delegates saw the way I looked and were touched by my story and the pain I was going through, it was then that I was offered ARV's....that was the beginning of my life Part 2....the life that I live now... I can share with you a favorite verse of Scripture which has given me strength, to carry on...

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through him who strengthens me"

Looking back three years ago, I am a totally different person physically, spiritually and emotionally. Given my background and how far I have come, I have gone through very traumatizing experiences or challenges, but somehow, with the help of God, I have made it this far. I believe I will go on to achieve my dreams, something I would not even think about three years ago, then, I would not even dream of seeing the day end or break, it was a day at a time, but now, I look far beyond that. The experiences I went through, I must say, groomed and prepared me for the future and hopefully to help and encourage my peers go through their own challenges and put the past where it belongs, in the past...

When I look at losing my parents at a time when I needed them most and hold on to that question and grief, without any available answer, I would compromise my focus on the future and the plans God has for me. I try hard as I may and let go of the past, it is the most difficult thing to do, in fact, almost impossible, but as I said earlier, it is your future against your past......I am still struggling, but I made up my mind, I have come this far, I will make it further....

On behalf of all the children (especially in the developing countries) let me make an appeal:

1. Parents

Your children need you, now more than ever - take responsible and good care of yourselves, live to see your children on their graduation day, on their wedding day and then, doting that grandchild....

2. Governments
Avail ARV's to the eligible citizens of your respective countries, some of these are parents who need to take care of their children and see them grow into useful and responsible citizens, do not deprive them of doting on their grandchildren.
Give every child a chance to live a normal life, put the eligible children on ARV's NOW - there is no excuse whatsoever, we know they work....my life is a living example...we have lives to live and dreams to pursue....we need our parents love, guidance, protection, they are our role models...do not deprive us of such a God given gift....

"Surely, HIV is preventable and AIDS is manageable"