The women we work with are widowed or abandoned by their husbands and are HIV+. They alone are responsible for supporting their children and in many cases other orphaned children. They struggle to find ways to make a living, but a little help for these women goes a very long way. Our UK charity Mondo knows from 10+ years' experience that with training, a small start-up grant and ongoing mentoring, these hard working women can run successful businesses to support themselves and their children
Women who are HIV+ have often lost their husbands through the illness, been shunned by his family or abandoned on discovery of their HIV status. Our community coordinators work closely with HIV clinics, local NGOs and village committees to identify women. The long waiting lists for inclusion in the project demonstrate the continued need especially in times of COVID19. The women themselves identify barriers in starting a business. They lack capital, are ineligible for loans and lack know how.
40 women will be identified through our network of HIV clinics, churches and women's groups They are invited to a two day training where they learn basic business skills and are helped to plan their own business. Our local staff help them to use the grant to purchase what they need to start up eg animals for breeding, pans and a stove for a cafe Every week their mentor visits to solve problems Specialist training in their business area is provided if needed Later they can apply for loan
We have found that the benefit to the women and their families is not only the financial input but also the time our team can spend with them for follow up, monitoring and continued training. The women's lives improve substantially in terms of being able to afford food, health care and education for their families, but also in terms of the self-esteem and well-being. "Before this grant I was just waiting to die. Now I have this cafe, I have something to work for. I can see the future"