Kampala_041008AWI_02DJustine is a 39 years-old married woman and lives in Uganda. She’s HIV positive. Mother of six, three of them are also HIV positive.

She says “the things I have had to endure in this life, I do not wish any of my daughters to have to go through: that’s why I work so hard every day”.

Justine was married at 20 years old to a polygamous man, becoming a third wife. She left the marriage after four years of abuse, suffering and imprisonment with two children (a boy and a girl): the boy later succumbing to accident injuries.

“I tried marriage a second time after meeting my second husband Jordan in Bulanga-Iganga District: it was a good marriage and we had two beautiful girls Sharon and Zakia but I had no idea he was HIV positive which later took his life”.

The death of her second husband woke her up as she had to fend for her children alone and with the mounting pressure from Jordan’s family to leave their land. She had to start all over again.

In 2004 I took up Jordan’s’ restaurant business which was in Iganga town. This meant she had to leave home early in the morning and come back home late in the evenings which put a lot of strain on her. She tried to equally balance work and family. She chose to let go of the business and she met her current husband James Balaba. They decided to get married and used her savings from the restaurant business to buy a small piece of land where they built a home for themselves and the children but had nowhere to cultivate food.

“The decision was hard but inevitable because my husband was constantly ill with mental illness and seizures which kept him away from work for long periods”.

Consequently, she became the man of the house but continuously struggled for long without land to cultivate food for her home and a reasonable source of income to pay fees for her children. Upon enrolment in FXB as a participant in early 2015, Justine embraced the group saving culture and became a member of Mirembe saving group in Bulowooza village. She borrowed 50,000 ug shs from the group and started buying and selling vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, cabbage, egg plants and avocado to have an income, and money to save. Justine borrowed 300000 Ug shs, topped it up with savings from the sale of one of her cows and has bought another piece of land where she intends to build a better home for her children.

“Look at the house I live in now, we just mounded it up with my husband when we were younger, we had no idea what we’re doing.

FXB’s Health care and treatment have also been a revelation to us: my daughter Zakia is a testament to that, she is HIV positive and was always constantly under epileptic attacks, I could hardly work and with the constant drug shortages at the Iganga hospital, am relieved to say FXBs services have made my daughter alive again as she can play and even afford a smile now, I will forever be indebted to that organisation (FXB)”.