By Farai Maposa
Hundreds of HIV positive women from Chikomba in Chivhu are benefitting from the initiative by an HIV/AIDS advocacy organization where they are doing income-generating projects through the collection of wild fruits and other activities.
In an interview with Radio VOP, Brian Muchovo of Life Empowerment Support Organisation (LESO) said the villagers in Chivhu who are HIV positive where encouraged to take the collection of wild fruits seriously to improve their income and also increase their dietary needs and mostly women where very forthcoming in taking up the initiative than their male counterparts.
“It was very easy to encourage the women because most males where a bit sceptical but now through encouragement from their wives we have noticed a significant change in most men’s attitudes,” said Muchovo.
Muchovo went on to explain the income generating projects
“The income generating project is one of the many our members are into.
“We realized that there is the abundance of wild fruits in the area that include mawuyu(baobab fruit),masau,matohwe and nyii and these can help in supplementing the nutritional requirements of AIDS patients. “However , we also found that the wild fruits can also be sold and augment the income of thee patients,” said Brian Muchovo, an advocacy officer with the organisation .
He also said the baobab fruit (mawuyu) can also be crushed to make powder which has a great nutritional value.
“The baobab fruit can be pounded into a powder that can be used to make porridge which is highly nutritional, ”he added.
Apart from the collection of wild fruits the organisation is also supporting the growing of traditional crops like mhunga (sorghum), nyemba (cow peas) and nyimo (round nuts) which they use for their own consumption and for sell.
Wadzanayi Chokuda,36-year-old HIV positive woman from Huchu Village said she has benefitted immensely from LESO as she was struggling to find income to cope with her dietary needs and at the same time sent her school going children to school.
“Life was becoming a menace because i was failing to feed myself and at the same time failing to send my two kids to school,” narrated the mother of three who lost her husband to the scourge .
LESO was formed in 2008 by two nurses Olivine Mtabeni and Rosa Mufunde who are the Director and Deputy Director respectively.
It is located in Damofalls, Chitungwiza, Dzivarasekwa and Chivhu among other areas.
The organisation is involved in providing home-based care to the chronically ill.
It also supports other vulnerable groups like the elderly, cancer and TB patients and young women.
The organisation is among many that have upped efforts in helping the vulnerable especially those affected by the HIV/AIDS scourge