Sivia Awino Aloo, a beneficiary of the CHS Shinda Tena Determined, Resilient Empowered AIDS Free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) program, is a Form 2 student from North Ramba in the Nyanza Region of Kenya. Today, she spends her days in school, studying and working hard for her future; but not too far in the past, she had spent days roaming the streets, desolate, as she was often sent home from school for lacking fees.
“My Parents work hard to provide for us, but their efforts are not always; sometimes, what they find is not enough. They can barely afford my school fees as we spend what we have on our basic needs,” Sivia says.
During her idle time at home, she resorted to dating a man she met during one of her daytime traipses, which helped her forget her problems and fears for her future. However, this became toxic very quickly as it started to negatively influence her school work on the rare times she was able to attend school.
“Because of the constant arguing in the relationship, it began to become too much for me, I didn’t have time to concentrate on my school work, and my grades began to drop, the financial situation at home, of course, didn’t help as I was always missing several classes; but I knew I had to stay in the relationship as I wasn’t sure if I would get to finish school,” Sivia says.
Sivia bumped into a DREAMS program mentor at the local Market, who asked her why she wasn’t at school; after she explained herself, she was invited to one of the CHS DREAMS program facilities and given several mentorship sessions before being helped to apply for an educational dreams program scholarship.
“I was advised that it’s better to concentrate on building myself first rather than working on a relationship at this stage as it left me more vulnerable to various diseases and bad situations. Seeing this, I eventually left my relationship,” Sivia says.
“My mentor further helped me apply and pushed for me to receive the scholarship. Being able to go to school gives me hope that there is a brighter future for me, and I don’t need a man to make that happen,” says Sivia.
With support from U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CHS, through its Shinda Tena has been implementing the DREAMS targeting Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) who, make up a larger proportion of new HIV infections. AGYWs are provided with a core package of care incorporating the following services:
- Adolescent-friendly Sexual Reproductive Health services
- Condom promotion
- Contraception mix
- HIV Testing Services; linkages into care or prevention cascades
- Provision of Pre Exposure Prophylaxis
- Safe spaces programing
- Post-violence care