Almost goodbye…!

Can I just begin by saying that when I first started my work in London I found it really hard to be away from home.  I couldn’t wait to go back home, adapting to the new environment and meeting new people was so much of a challenge to me.  But I have been here for almost six and I feel very sad to be leaving SPW International and London. 

I feel very lucky to have worked with SPW International and it’s so sad to finally say goodbye.  It’s been a wonderful and fun experience living in London.

I have enjoyed my time and I appreciate having had the opportunity to be part of this great team in SPW.  I can’t thank SPW enough for the support, guidance, and encouragement provided during my time here.

My best moment was coming here and being offered another opportunity to take part in the SPW stop Aids campaign and Dance for life tour which have helped me gain more experiences.  I must also say that speaking in the House of Commons and at the Department for International Development was so much of a great experience I will live to treasure.

On another I am excited to be going back home and catching up with Zambia.  I miss my family, friends and the food.

I would like to encourage all other young people to take up such opportunities which open many doors into future careers.  I have directly benefited from this internship which has been more than just a learning experience.

I am so sad but am glad to go back home with a lot of meaningful experiences gained here, it’s the end of this internship but its also the beginning of taking up another greater challenge ahead.  The sky is not the limit.

Cheers!

Happy New Year!

Hey All,

Happy New Year…

I hope we enjoyed our Christmas and New Year breaks. The Christmas mood and lights in London city are now phasing out.

My first Christmas outside home, sad but exciting!  I joined a colleague Jane and her family for the celebration; we were about fifteen people with her other relatives.  It all started with attending a carol service, a day before Christmas.  We sang songs and of course my best song (silent night) was on the list. It was nice to have a different experience of how church is like here a few days before Christmas.  In the service I particularly enjoyed seeing very little kids dressed up like characters in the bible during the birth of Christ, it was hilarious to see some babies who can’t walk dressed up as well.  In Zambia we also go to church two or a day before Christmas.

This reminded me of home…When I was part of Sunday school at church.  On Christmas we sang songs to the audience and did the entire role play on the birth of Christ.  Christmas for me and my family is a time when we go to church. We usually go to this special Sunday because it reminds us of the birth of Christ. Some places are beautifully decorated with Christmas trees and lights.  But in other parts of Zambia Christmas is unnoticeable. It’s just like any other typical day. There are no Christmas trees, but people enjoy a killing a live chicken or buy meat and enjoy a nice meal with their family.

After Christmas I went to my auntie in Milton Keynes outside London. We had a big shopping, watched movies and walked in the park.  Not forgetting nice food.  I had our Zambian staple food called nshima – a commercial product. It is made from maize (corn) flour known locally as mielie meal. Also prepared in other African countries its similar to ugali of east Africa, fufu of west Africa.   This added to my best Christmas and New Year celebration.

Now am back in the office continuing with my usual work.

Cheers,

Chichi

World AIDS Day

Music, dancing the drill, signing of action cards, speeches, graffiti wall/floor, and big vbus engaging with other young people was fun. This all happened at the SPW’s world AIDS day event, which was amazing.

The DFID minister of international development came down and gave a speech and encouraged young people to take action as they are the most affected by HIV. Every single day 6000 people worldwide become infected with HIV and every 12 seconds someone is infected with HIV; meaning in 2 hours, 600 people become infected. And of all new infections, half of those are in the age between 15 and 24 years old. We young people are the most affected by HIV but I strongly believe that we are the solution to solving this problem.

The fact that we are talking about HIV everyday does not mean we have found the cure yet. There is a solution that lies within ourselves; we can put in more effort in raising awareness and activities that help support these efforts.

I lost many family members because of HIV years ago, and I could not do much about it. Today I still have siblings and young nephews and nieces who I don’t want to catch the virus because of lack of knowledge.

So am doing all I can to let people around me know how to prevent themselves, and in that way they can help others too. It all starts with me.

Wherever you are in the world, your voice matters and help spread the word. We can also do a lot by showing care and support for those that are both infected and affected. More than anything else, they need our support and love. They are human just like anyone. Protect yourself and those around you.

Cheers!

Universities, House of Parliament and DFID

The speaker tour is organised every year with international speakers who come to the UK and share their personal stories going across different universities in the UK.

This year they recruited three speakers Daniel from Sierra Leone, Chichi from Zambia (me!) and Tony from the USA.

The speaker tour is organised by the Student stop AIDS Campaign.  The campaign is made up of students at universities and colleges across the country who believes that the world’s response to the HIV pandemic is insufficient and unacceptable.

Read more at: http://www.stopaidscampaign.org.uk/

We visited around 20 universities with stop AIDS societies, http://www.stopaidssocieties.org.uk/ giving talks in the evenings to students inspiring them to continue taking action to stop the spread of HIV and campaign for life saving drugs.  I talked about my father who is living with HIV and is on first line treatment like most people in Zambia, though not everyone is receiving treatment.

There are about 33million people currently living with HIV in the world and most of them don’t have access to the drugs they need.  But behind all these numbers are people like my father and other families around the world.

The speaker tour also focused on a campaign called a patent pool.   The website below has an animation that properly explains what the campaign is all about.   If this is achieved it will help millions of people have the medication they need.   Anyone can make it happen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vj0dbFgjoh4

Excitingly, during the tour we had an opportunity to speak in the UK parliament, an opportunity that doesn’t happen all the time.   We also spoke at .Department for International Development (DFID) where we shared our stories and engaged with a lot of different people.

Dance4Life and Students Stop AIDS on Tour!

Hi all,

 

I have just come back from tour, which was amazing!

 

Dance4life (D4L) and the Student Stop AIDS Campaign combined this time with facilitators and international speakers, touring different schools and universities across the UK. Find out more about the stop AIDS on this website.http://www.stopaidscampaign.org.uk/

 

“I loved that all different people from different walks of life came together and made a fantastic team” (Beth SPW D4L Officer).

 

D4L tour team included facilitators from London and international speakers from USA, Sierra Leone and Zambia.  Using music and dance, Dance4Life delivered workshops on HIV; visiting over 25 schools and engaging with different young people across the UK.

 

The international speakers also played an important role by giving a positive voice to young people in the schools through sharing their personal stories on how HIV has affected their lives and their families’.  Mikel, one of the facilitators, said “Their stories were an eye opener to our surroundings”.

 

The workshops also gave young people an opportunity to take action in their schools and to help combat HIV and the stigma that is still going on round issues to do with HIV.  Dance4Life is a good way of engaging with young people and bringing issues to them.

 

Ash, another facilitator and Dance4Life agent of change who was inspired two years by watching D4L, said: “I was so inspired and wanted to give back to the world what D4L had given me”. He is giving it back today by becoming involved.   Anyone can get involved and find out more on the website www.dance4life.co.uk

 

Cheers!

SPW Party and d4l Tour

Hi all, 

Still enjoying the weather?   I am, hope you are.

Ever enthusiastic, SPW UK held a murder mystery party last week; which brought almost all staff members from all departments together.  But this time around, people were looking different in funny and glamorous outfits.

It was a lovely opportunity for me to meet most staff who I usually don’t have chance to talk to on a typical day.

I found it really an amazing time interacting with them on another level.

Gill (or Sam) checks that Chris (Chichi), one of her Casino staff is spick and span

Sam (aka Gill) checks that Chris (aka Chichi), one of her Casino staff, is spick and span

In other news, the dance4life (d4l) speaker tour is on again, I can’t wait to dance and help push back the spread of HIV.

dance4life is a dynamic initiative that empowers young people through dance in order to push back the spread of HIV, coupled up with other interesting activities. 

We will be touring different universities across the UK and am so excited to be joining the team and sharing my experiences.

Cheers!

Latvia and London’s getting cooler!

Anna, Jane and Chichi in Latvia

Anna, Jane and Chichi in Latvia

Hey all,

Temperatures in London are cool and we are surviving.  I have been enjoying the summer and I can’t wait for the winter which I think is just a nose step away.

A couple of new and interesting things have been happening.  I was very pleased to meet project leaders (a team am working with).  This is a group of young volunteers coordinated by SPW UK working to ensure that all young people have access to accurate information about their Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).  So far we have held a number of trainings on advocacy which have been very exciting and educative.

Additionally, EuroNGOs (A European network of non- governmental organisation that corporate in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights, population and Development), held a conference in which we participated as SPW.  This was held in Latvia, Riga to be exact and the was theme:  “Investing in Sexual Reproductive Health in times of economic Crisis”.  The goal of the conference was to develop a common understanding about the impact of the economic crisis on SRHR funding among the EuroNGOs members and partners and to agree on appropriate action.   I went along with Jane (Advocacy Officer) and Anna (Project Leader).  

The conference presented a different atmosphere.  It appeared to me like people are tired of going round the same circles and they are prepared to move forward and achieve the defined goals.

Even if the intended time for achieving the MDGs is near and success almost looks impossible, we will still remain optimistic and hope for a time when all women and men will enjoy their sexual rights and have access to proper health care services.

All in all, the conference was a new experience as we were able to interact with people from different NGOs and broadened our understanding on SRHR.

Not forgetting about Latvia. Latvia is in the north of Europe, the country is lovely, one thing that hit me about the people is the value they have for their culture.  I enjoyed the traditional dances and their dresses look beautiful on them.  They usually wear them for their different ceremonies. 

This reminded me of Zambia, during our traditional ceremonies we also dress in a certain way and I love the outfit for the Lozi’s (a tribe in Zambia).

Cheers!

Chichi