My name is Elizabeth Achieng Olang. I am presently attending my third year of high schooling and I am a beneficiary under North Gem Community Development Program’s HIV/AIDS Project. I receive educational support for my school fees under this project. I am a partial orphan (my father is still alive and he is HIV positive). The project also provides me with domestic support that facilitates my education and allows me to remain in school, for instance sanitary kits. It also provides me with life skills training on a variety of issues including study skills, reproductive health, drug and substance abuse, family life training, leadership and interpersonal skills development as well as mentorship.
I regard myself as fortunate to have had my encounter with North Gem Community Development Program and the support that they have provided me can only be described as invaluable. I was recently nominated to the Children’s Assembly where I sit as the County Representative for Siaya County and also hold the position of Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Siaya County. Through my participation in the project and my participation in the Children’s Assembly, I have been given a platform through which to advocate and lobby for the rights of children and to empower my peers through information and knowledge sharing. I have participated as a peer mentor to other girls and children with similar background. In future it is my hope to be able to become a role model to other girls in my community so that I can mentor them into roles of responsible citizens. The spirit to become an advocate for an improved society has taken root in me and I hope to carry on this role even into the future. I thank North Gem Community Development Program for supporting my education and inspiring me to become a servant of the community.