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Tusitukirewamu-United We Stand GALERÍACONVERSACIÓN
 
Florence Masuliya
Uganda
World YWCA
I am Florence Masuliya, a 26-year-old woman from Uganda. In 2003, I was bedridden and weighed 25kg.

After going through HIV and AIDS counselling with a YWCA community worker, I decided to go for an HIV test and the results came back HIV positive. It took three months of continuous counselling, comforting and encouragement to be strong and confident before I came to terms with my status. Even though it was difficult, I was not discouraged but instead decided to join hands with YWCA youth in fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS among our peers.

Being born in the Bwaise, Saint Francis, a slum area of Kampala city, with 17,000 inhabitants, and highly burdened by HIV and AIDS, I know the living standards of women and girls. Many young girls join street sex workers in order to meet their material and financial needs. In order to respond to the needs of young people in my community, I founded Tusitukirewamu (united we stand) YWCA youth club. I have good support from the programme officer and the youth coordinator. The YWCA helped to register the club as a CBO according to Ugandan laws.

Realising that sex work can place women in situations that leads to HIV and AIDS, Tusitukirewamu started sensitising this group of young girls about HIV and AIDS. Most of them are young mothers between the age of 15-25. Currently, we have a team of about 70 sex workers in the youth club and through the YWCA we offer training in vocational skills to help them identify different avenues of earning an income.

As an activist, I have managed to network and link the youth club team with other stakeholders such as The AIDS Support Organisation, ActionAid and Herbalists, all of whom provide Antiretroviral (ARV) medication, treatment for opportunistic infections, food and other material support and services.

Through donations we received hair dryers and now some members have opened hair salons. We are in the process of negotiating sewing machines with ActionAid. Coming from the same area as my peers in the youth club, I am able to interact with them freely and mobilise them for trainings and sensitisation workshops. The training and workshops are not open to parents, community and religious leaders, or elders. In this way, the young girls feel comfortable and safe to express themselves among their peers who understand the kind of situations, which drive them to such work.

We want to change the lives of many more young people engaged in sex work through support, training and care. So far, 10 out of the 70 Tusitukirewamu members have chosen to take up new opportunities. These young women have gone for testing, declared their HIV status, and now have a career in tailoring and hairdressing. Many more have decided to go for HIV tests. Continued sensitisation on behavioural change is a long process but I hope Tusitukirewamu will have an impact on my peers.
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mulangira hudu (Reino Unido)
Dear Florence, thanks for the great encouragement you are building within the hearts of these fellow. isthis your official website: twg-bwaise.org
mulangira hudu (Uganda)
Dear Florence, thanks for the great encouragement you are building within the hearts of these fellow. isthis your official website: twg-bwaise.org
mulangira hudu (Uganda)
Dear Florence, thanks for the great encouragement you are building within the hearts of these fellow. isthis your official website: twg-bwaise.org
divina gomez (México)
Hi Florence: I was in shock after reading your history, mainly because you are so young, but at the same time I am so impressed because all the passion and drive you have trying to help others. I would like to know more about your organizaation, do you have a website I can visit? what are the main needs you (as an organization) have? thanks
divina
Natalia (Estados Unidos)
Florence, I am in awe of your strength. It seems that the YWCA was extremely invovled in your work against HIV/AIDS. Do you feel as if any of your work would have happened if you had not stay involved with the organization? The picture next to your story shows how full of life you are and I sincerely hope all the best for you in the future with your work and your health!
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