Protecting the Unprotected

Nthabiseng, 26, lost her mother to HIV when she was 8 years old and never knew her father. She wandered the streets of her village for most of her childhood—often without shoes, sometimes without food. At 16, she was sexually molested by one of her caretakers and became pregnant, but lost the baby in childbirth. She found help in the form of a local program that gives shelter and support to the thousands of children in her community who are orphaned – often due to HIV and TB. While there, she was introduced to a CDC program that trains young women like herself to become caretakers of the community’s orphaned children and further supports them to educate the children to stay HIV-free.

Today, thanks to the CDC/PEPFAR initiative and her own determination, Nthabiseng is a trained Community Caregiver, providing this education and support for vulnerable children, some as young as four years old. "Every day, I care for children just like me, without mothers to help them stay safe. Now, I have the tools to help them. Now, I am the mother, the sister, the aunt, the grandmother they do not have."