Mkuu wa Mkoa wa Shinyanga, Ally Rufunga (kulia) akisalimiana na Mkurugenzi Mkuu wa Shirika lisilo la Kiserikali la Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative (AGPAHI), Laurean Bwanakunu aliyekwenda kumuaaga ofisini kwake baada ya Rais Jakaya Kikwete kumteua kuwa Mkurugenzi Mkuu wa Bohari ya Dawa (MSD). (Picha na Francis Dande)

 Mkuu wa Mkoa wa Shinyanga, Ally Rufunga (katikati) akizungumza na uongozi wa Shirika lisilo la Kiserikali la AGPAHI uliokwenda ofisini kwake wakati Mkurugenzi Mkuu wa shirika hilo alipokwenda kumuaga. 

“I’m not like other pupils,” says James Jackson, aged 12 from Shinyanga living with HIV. “Well, I am… but I also have to deal with secrecy, discrimination, uneducated attitudes at school, what to tell my negative friends and the constant fear of being found out.” 

Jackson was born with HIV. Although a first-rate medical system has kept him healthy and strong, he has suffered at the hands of an otherwise caring community. 
At school, Jackson has experienced the full extent of people’s fear and ignorance about HIV from cruel jokes to active discrimination. 
“There are many heart-breaking stories of little kids being humiliated because of a disease they inherited. The very fact that people like me are still here shows that people with HIV are some of the strongest people in the world…” 

What Anastasia lacks in size, she makes up in confidence as she points out what support children like herself need.

She is small for her 13 years, but otherwise looks healthy and full of life, and accepts that she lives with HIV. The problem, she says, is that others do not.

“The most difficult thing for me is to know that people could make fun of me if they knew I am HIV positive,” says Anastasia, talking to a small group of young people living with HIV.

“I want the world to see AIDS like any other disease,” says Anastasia.

Learning goes hand in hand with growth and for those willing, it does not come to an end until life is no more. For children, as well as some adults, learning by practice, especially touring new areas is exciting, as it raises their awareness on nature, the environment, while to some it gives them a lifetime experience.

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