Muimbo Chikonjwe receiving a certificate

The Families Matter! Programme (FMP) is a community-based to promote positive parenting practices and effective parent-child communication.

FMP recognizes that many parents may need support to effectively convey their values and expectations about adolescence sexual behaviour and to communicate important issues about HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), teenage pregnancy, child abuse, and gender-based violence to their children.

With the support from USAID, Mavambo Orphan Care implements the Families Matter! Program in Goromonzi and Harare.

Parents and caregivers participating in the Families Matter! Program (FMP) have shown a deep commitment to attending the program and embracing their critical role in helping their children develop healthy sexual behaviours and cherish their HIV and AIDS status.

Before being integrated into the FMP, parents and caregivers expressed uneasiness and apprehension with the disclosure and sexuality conversations.

Mulimbo Chikonjwe a single mother-breadwinner for a family of three was among the third graduates of the Families Matter! Program at Epworth Clinic in Harare.

She is not only a mother but, an aunt to Tafara who was HIV and AIDS double orphaned.

“My brother succumbed to AIDS, a year later his wife faced the same fate leaving behind a clueless seven-year-old boy, Tafara. Every relative refused to accept custodianship because of Tafara’s  HIV and AIDS status. I volunteered to stay with him since I knew he was HIV positive and I am positive too. I knew that collecting his Antiretroviral drugs would be easier since I would just collect them when I collect mine.,” Mulimbo said as tears oozed.

For the past seven years, Mulimbo was staying with Tafara happily and she did everything in her capacity to hide the reason why Tafara had to take the ‘pills’ on a daily basis.

Only after being enrolled to the FMP, Mulimbo gathered some courage and strength to drop the calabash.

“One evening after supper, as usual, I sent Tafara to collect our pills. When he came back, I narrated to him how his parents had religiously decided to skip the pills and how this affected their health resulting in their death. I then took the opportunity to tell him about his HIV status which for I had hide from him for four years.

“I was so scared to unpack the message to him but he seemed normal. Even days after the family continued to be happy as before. Without having attended the Families Matter! Program I would not have been bold enough to disclose his status to him in a way that would not offend him,” she narrated.

Disclosure holds great benefits for a child’s ability to engage with other peers freely and maintain their normal medical treatment