Edrine Kalema


Nakuya Desirenta, 38 years old with her son Edrine Kalema, 7 years old

“I was married and when my husband died they (his family) chased me from the house. He had been very ill for one year. When he was admitted to hospital I was seven months pregnant. I don’t know how he got hiv. I was tested when he died. I was so disappointed; I wanted my child to be born without hiv. I was desperate for him be ok but I couldn’t afford to go to the hospital (where they could have tried to prevent the transmission of hiv from mother to baby), I gave birth to Edrine at home…I also breast fed him as I didn’t have money for milk”

“Edrine was very sickly when he was a baby, he had skin rashes and he was being sick a lot. I got him tested for hiv when he was 3 years old and he was positive. I cried for weeks.

“I earn 3000 (Ugandan shillings) a day running a ‘chat’ (a stand that sells sweets, cigarettes, papers etc). I spend 1,500 on food, 500 on soap and water and 1000 for rent. I have nothing left over at the end of the day.

“Mulago government hospital is 4km away from here. It is supposed to be free but often you leave without your medicine as they say they are out of stock. I buy Paracetamol from the pharmacy and ‘septrin’. Edrine is on ARV's (anti retrovirals) at the moment and is well.

“The nearest water pump is about 10 meters from our home. A jerry can of water costs 100ugx, charcoal is 500 ugx (this will give you enough to cook one meal).

“We have one meal a day. I cook Motoke and groundnuts for 1000 ugx, This is not enough to sustain us. Edrine is hungry – I always leave some aside so he can eat another meal later as he needs to take his medicine (anti retrovirals) with food.

“Edrine had never been to school before now. He is now in primary 1 and I am very, very happy. He is a good boy and he enjoys school so much and I want to show everyone his report because he got 100% in his maths test. I hope he will become a doctor one day.”

Edrine was able to start attending school because he is one of 66 children we are already supporting with an education grant.