The Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) with support from Tearfund Switzerland
implemented an HIV/AIDS project called “Response to AIDS by churches with hope” (REACH) in Traditional Authority Mwanza in Salima district. The project purpose was/is:
||to reduce new HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.
||to improve the quality of life of people living with or affected by HIV (PLHIV) through provision of knowledge and skills on HIV and income generating activities.
||to build the capacity of churches to deliver HIV/AIDS services in churches and communities.
The results of this three year project are encouraging despite all challenges and setbacks. It had huge impact on the lives of many Malawians.
Jonathan Mangochi - A changed life
For 37 year old Jonathan Mangochi of Kamuona village in Traditional Authority Mwanza (Salima district), a goat is not just a goat but a symbol of a new life.
He was part of the “Goat Pass On” project implemented by the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM). It targets HIV positive people to empower them economically. When Jonathan was trained how to rear livestock and received a goat from EAM he took good care of it and soon it gave birth to a kid which he passed on to another person. “Then the goat gave birth to two more kids. Later I had a total of seven goats. I sold three goats to buy 24 iron sheets. I’m now planning to build a new house using these iron sheets,” says Jonathan. He also has already moulded 3,000 bricks for his new house. Besides the financial independence the project helped him to improve his health. He says, “A HIV positive person needs to eat a healthy diet all the time. This is what I failed to do few years ago when I had nothing to earn some money. But through rearing goats I am able to raise enough money for my good health. I have bought chickens which I rear for consumption. I am living a healthy life and I rarely fall sick since I started to stick to healthy diet.”
EAM also gave agricultural advice and Jonathan is now cultivating different types of crops such as maize, cotton and rice which he sells.
What Jonathan will never forget are the prejudices and the stigmatization because of his HIV status. “They thought an HIV person cannot do something productive. But EAM proved them wrong. Things have changed as everyone is respecting me for what I am doing. People have also realised that being HIV positive does not mean one cannot be an active citizen,” he says.