Family Food Rations Increase HIV Patient’s Independence and Self-Esteem
When Juliet Muchenga's son (and household breadwinner) passed away in 2011, well-wishers from her local church started donating food to her family. While this did not include any nutritional supplements, vital for her antiretroviral therapy treatment, she was grateful to at least be able to provide her five children and grandchildren with one meal per day.
After two months, the church donations ceased and Juliet had no choice but to beg community members for food. “My situation was well known and I could see people trying to avoid me in the streets because they knew I was begging for food,” she says. “I lost respect for myself.”
“Sometimes they would give me some food, but it was often vegetables when I really needed mealie meal (maize),” she says. “Now that I am on the programme, I receive the mealie meal as well as money to buy other things.” Juliet choses to spend her $5 ‘cash-back’ on salt, sugar and soap for her family.
After five months on WFP’s Health & Nutrition Programme receiving monthly nutritional supplements and food rations for her household, Juliet’s weight and health BMI have improved, as well as her self-respect and sense of independence.