Aisha - in memory


It’s been a very sad week finding out that we have lost three children. It’s devastating the amount suffering and death caused by diseases that are not only preventable but also curable - knowing that the only barrier to treatment is poverty makes the death of these children completely unjustifiable. I spoke to Florence in Bwaise this morning who gave me a request from Betty, who was Aisha’s guardian. Aisha (pictured above) died from meningitis aged 9. She was diagnosed with malaria by a local doctor who gave her treatment, she didn’t improve and by the time she was seen in Malago hospital and diagnosed correctly it was too late.

Betty said, ‘We don’t want our children to be forgotten, we want to share her story and memories of her because we don’t want to forget her, we don’t want to forget any of our children. We want to celebrate the special girl that she was.”

Above: Aisha, aged 9, with her guardian Betty and (right) Aisha and Laurene, aged 4, reading together at home summer 2010
I met Aisha in June last year, she seemed such a happy, loving girl and I remember that we laughed a lot when we took photos of each other. Aisha lived with Betty and Betty’s daughter Laurene. Aisha told me “I like going to school, English is my favourite subject. I want to be a nurse but I’m scared of injections. I have lots of friends, Gloria and Amelia are my best friends at school but Laurene is like my sister and we like to read together.

Betty explained how Aisha came to be living with her… Aisha’s mother was my friend and neighbour, we used to talk and spend lots of time together and I would look after Aisha when she was at work. When Aisha was five months old her father left her mum. That’s when Aisha’s mum was forced to take up sex work, she had no other way to find money to survive

One day she came and asked me to look after Aisha and said she would be back after looking for work – that was four years ago. During the four years that Aisha has been living me she started to get sick so I took her for an HIV test and she was positive.

"We have never been able to trace her mother or father. We don’t know where their family are from, we can’t trace them so Aisha is now my family. Because of the support we recieved we were able to enroll Aisha into school, she had been attending a few terms and she was learning fast. She liked to read with my own daughter Laurene – they had become like sisters

Betty and Laurene are devasted that Aisha is no longer in their lives.

Women and children living with HIV in Bwaise and Makerere don’t get the services they need. The health system is under-funded, under-staffed and lacks the drugs and equipment required to treat them effectively. The work Florence, Regina and Betty do is literally a matter of life and death for the most vulnerable in their community. There is no other support system for these children and they give all their time and energy to helping the most vulnerable in their community.

The more money we raise the more they can do to protect and help the children in their care….

  • Make a donation via myactionaid page, every penny will be go towards education grants for children in Bwaise and Makerere.
  • Help us spread the word by following us on facebook – just click on the badge on the right, like us and share us with any friends who might want to buy, give or get involved.
  • Put on an event or do something to help raise money – get in touch - we want to hear from you.
  • If you’ve upgraded & have an old digital camera perhaps you would consider donating it us. Florence in Kampala really needs it – to keep records of the children’s progress, gather evidence to protect them & feedback to funders.

Aisha, aged 9, will be missed by all of us.

Interesting reading: ActionAid research identified inadequate primary healthcare as a significant barrier to meeting the target of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and you can read the report here.