Jabhile Gloria Nkosi, aged 49, lives in Thabo Village, Extension 3 Breyten, Mpumalanga. She is a talented seamstress and a proud, strong woman. She is also HIV positive – and this is her story.
Breyten is a small farming town in Mpumalanga, South Africa, with the community doing most of their household business in the next town over – Ermelo. Breyten is also heavily dependent on the mines around it, with the majority of income and job opportunities being generated from them.
When the Community Outreach Worker from Re-Action!, a PEPFAR-funded CDC South Africa partner, knocked on Jabhile’s door at 1920 Thabo Village in 2008 and offered home-based HIV counselling and testing, in Jabhile’s own words, she had nothing more to lose.
“Now I wake up in the morning and work, just like any other healthy person, but before they knocked on my door I was sick and couldn’t work,” explains Jabhile.
“I was very ill and the Re-Action! Community Outreach Workers helped me – they changed my life.” On that day in 2008 Jabhile not only learnt she was HIV positive, but it also served as turning point in her life.
“After Re-Action! came to my home and I was tested ,I started going to the Ubuhle Bempilo Community Health Centre. There I get good treatment from good nurses,” explains Jabhile, adding that she continues to collect her treatment from the clinic as she remains well enough to do so, and takes her medication religiously.
Ubuhle Bempilo Community Health Centre, where Jabhile goes for her medication and regular check-ups, is the result of a strong partnership between the provincial department of health, PEPFAR/CDC, Re-Action! and Xstrata mine.
A stitch in time
Jabhile has a few words of advice for those who have not been tested as yet. “Go and get tested. It is better to know your status and how you are going to live your life, rather than sitting at home being sick and not knowing what to do about it.”
Additionally, the Re-Action! Community Outreach Workers returned to her home to teach her how to grow vegetables in order to ensure a healthy diet, as well as teaching her a trade – needlework.
“They taught me sewing and then I had a purpose in life. I was right in my mind, right in my body, and I recovered and live well today,” says Jabhile.
Her kitchen currently serves as her sewing room, complete with a number of sewing machines – but her Singer sewing machine takes pride of place. It is here she sews her beautiful traditional showpieces, as well as the practical school uniforms, baby duvet sets, curtains, and other products the community buy from her.
If the Re-Action! Community Outreach Workers had not knocked on Jabhile’s door that day her story could very well have had a different ending. “Now I am well, I am working, and living a good, healthy life. If I didn’t get treatment when I did, I would have died,” says Jabhile.
Re-Action! innovates through Social Entrepreneurship, manages Health and Sustainability programs and services, and delivers Technical Assistance in the Development Sector. They have a reputation for creating social value and for being highly results-driven, working ‘on the ground’ to deliver human-scale development programs through strong collaborative partnerships.