”My life has changed in a way difficult to believe”: Abebech

A 42 year old Abebech Setegn lives in Chancho town with her four children. Two of her four sons have been beneficiaries of ISAPSO’s CFTC Project.”When I become sick four years ago, I often went to a nearby clinic for a medical treatment. The doctors couldn’t find out my illness, but they gave me many different medications which couldn’t help me at all. Later, I underwent HIV test and the result showed that I am HIV positive. I suffered a lot from my sickness and my children starved. When my children went without food for days, they began to go out of the house and work. My eldest son who was ten then began to wash cars and my second son who was seven started to work as a messenger boy in the neighborhood. The remaining two children and I lived on the support of my eldest son and my neighbors.

Later on, two things happened that gave me the hope to live. My two children were selected to get support from the project and my health improved as I started taking the Anti-retroviral treatment. Though my health improved and I was able to work, I had no capital to engage in any business. My happiest moment came when ISAPSO organized us into a self help group and created for us the opportunity to borrow from our savings to engage in trade or some business of choice. I got a loan amounting to 2,200 birr from my group at a different time. In four years, my capital grew to 3000 birr. I began selling various commodities in the market such as coffee, incense sticks, matches, plastics bags and other goods. I also sold food items. As a result, besides feeding my family, I now possess some property. I have a cow and a calf for breeding. I have bought chicken to start breeding. I used to live in one room house with my four children, but now I have built two additional two rooms for my family and the animals. In Fact, my life has changed in a way difficult to believe and I’m sure I will expand my business more.
Abebech confidently says HIV/AIDS does not prevent one from realizing one’s dream. She is very thankful for the support ISAPSO staff members have given her. However, she didn’t want to hide the challenging times she had undergone before she started benefiting from the project. She says: The only regret that I have is that my eldest son dropped out of school because of my sickness does not want to resume school. He says he is too old to attend classes with students much younger than he is. I tried to convince him that age does not limit education. He doesn’t seem to be convinced, but I will do my level best to convince him.”