Meet the volunteer living with HIV who is inspiring others to stay healthy
3 June 2016
CAFOD volunteers in England and Wales give time in their own parishes, schools and communities to help their sisters and brothers overseas. While we celebrate these UK volunteers during Volunteers' Week, we are also celebrating the women and men who volunteer in their communities overseas to make a difference to the lives of some of the poorest people.
One volunteer inspires another
Ssebbula Francis lives with his wife and their eight children close to Masaka, in the central region of Uganda. In 2002, Ssebbula fell sick and was diagnosed with HIV. After his diagnosis, he received counselling and advice on treatment from a volunteer working with our partner in the area, Kitovu Mobile. Ssebbula says, “The support I received made me feel better, that is why I decided to become a volunteer”.
Essential work is made possible by volunteers
Kitovu Mobile has been responding to HIV and AIDS since 1987 and does a lot of its work through a dedicated group of volunteers. They have 450 volunteers supporting their projects.
Kitovu Mobile trained Ssebbula to give talks about HIV and AIDS to the community and to make sure people took their treatment. He now goes into the community every day to provide health talks and give advice and support to people living with HIV.
Ssebbula and his fellow volunteers know the work can be challenging both physically and emotionally, but they are committed: “I like what I do,” he says. “Seeing people’s health get better gives me strength to continue.”
I share my experience
Like Ssebbula, many of Kitovu Mobile’s volunteers are living with HIV themselves. Their experiences make them experts in understanding how people feel when they are diagnosed and the importance of taking their drugs properly. “Because I am HIV positive myself,” says Ssebbula, “I can share my experience with others who are living with HIV, helping them to accept their disease.
“I would like to continue serving my people with voluntary work. I also hope that our voice as volunteers and people living with HIV and AIDS will be heard in policy and development so we can continue to improve our lives.”
Achievements of all volunteers worldwide
Ssebbula feels very humble about knowing that there are volunteers in England and Wales volunteering for CAFOD: “I appreciate that people around the world are involved in this voluntary work and that we work hand in hand to help people in my community and that we can share challenges and achievements of all volunteers worldwide, which I think will make me become stronger within this voluntary work.”
Join our webinar with Ugandan volunteers at 10am GMT 7 June