A New Legacy
An HIV-positive mother struggles to leave her children a legacy of hope and health, instead of destruction and death.
A mother can pass on many things to her child. Her legacy can include eye color and height, as well as beliefs or a physical inheritance. But a parent wants the things she passes on to her children to make life better, richer. To set up her children for success.
Sadly, that is not always the case.
Hannifah was born with what many in her village considered a curse. The HIV infection that passed from her mother’s body to hers would leave her mother dead within a year — and would make Hannifah’s life read like a tragedy.
The burden of HIV was too much for Hannifah’s father, and when he remarried, the teenage girl was kicked out of her home. She sought acceptance from a man who claimed to love her until she became pregnant and her health deteriorated. Afraid she would die in his home, he too forced her to leave.
Hannifah’s poor health made it impossible for her to work, leaving her with no money for food or shelter — much less for medical care for herself and her unborn child. The girl sought refuge at a church, which helped to connect her with a Compassion Child Survival Program.
Compassion staff workers were committed to helping Hannifah journey to health and wholeness, even though the path was filled with obstacles. She required numerous hospital stays, some lasting several weeks. Her body was malnourished, leaving her unborn child at high risk for health problems of her own.
Through the intervention of Compassion and the assistance of the AIDS Initiative, Hannifah was finally stabilized after months of medical treatments. Her daughter, Deborah, was born without HIV, and again through help from the AIDS Initiative and the Child Survival Program, Hannifah’s second child, Joy, was also born without the disease.
Hannifah finally believed she could leave a different legacy for her children.
Your support of Compassion’s AIDS Initiative has far-reaching effects for families like Hannifah’s. While the immediate concern was for Hannifah’s health and the health of her children, gradually that support spread to other areas of her life. The fund made it possible for Hannifah and her daughters to finally have their own home, a sturdy three-room brick house. Hannifah also received vocational training and is raising chickens to provide for her girls.
Today, Deborah and Joy are both enrolled in the Compassion child sponsorship program. They have the same smile and eyes as their mother, but they also have her determination and perseverance. The legacy she leaves for them is one she can finally be proud of.
“My father abandoned me, but Compassion is now my father and mother. My mother died when I was young, but Compassion has showed me love. I thank God so much for all who helped me. May God bless you,” says Hannifah.