My name is Martin Oloo and I am part of the Elite digital Youth group. HIV/AIDS is real and more real in my home area of Siaya County in Kenya. We are the second on the list with a prevalence of 23.7%. That aside, these are tough economic times especially for youths; no jobs, no source of income and maybe one has a young family and sibling to take care of, it is tough!. But you can imagine how tough it can get when one is also living with HIV. In 2012, I lost two close friends to HIV/AIDS related complications but what I can cannot get out of my mind is how others used to view them, it was simply just stigma!. Truth be said, my friends could have been alive up to today if they could have been treated equally and not stigmatized. Their children are orphans and I interact with them, I feel sad and you can’t imagine how they miss their parents. “Other people view me as if I am good for nothing, they think I can’t meet my food requirements, can’t raise money for my upkeep and my children's school fee”, these words from my friend who passed on challenged my life forever. It was a revelation for me that if people living with HIV/AIDS can have access to nutritious food, generate their own income and be healthy, they cannot be looked down on or even stigmatized.
Eureka!, an idea was here. In my community, we have land and the lake is just some miles away. Yes, agriculture was the solution. We came together in 2013 and formed a youth group to support youth living with HIV/AIDS. We brought together 30 youths living with HIV and with the little money we had, we started a small scale horticulture project with one foot driven water pump and some few pipes along the shores of Lake Victoria. These youth work very hard and we have seen change, a lot of change. All the youths we work together with have at least a story to tell. “Nowadays I have friends, lots of friends. We can even share tea together and I matter!” one of the youths whispered to me recently. We want to maximize on the time of these youth and make sure that their yield is high and put a smile on the faces of more youth who are living with HIV/AIDS.
Support us raise funds to purchase greenhouses, drip kits and either fuel or electricity powered water pumps. New technology will assist these youth to use less energy for maximum output. They are very dedicated and your support will be a great milestone to this initiative. Visit us on www.elitedyouth.org