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Real lives

Frida’s story

© UNICEF Zambia/2003/D'Elbee
Frida at the Anglican Children’s Project, Lusaka, Zambia

Frida is an orphan living at the Anglican Children's Project, Lusaka, Zambia. The Anglican Children's Project is supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). This is her story in her own words…

LUSAKA, Zambia—When I was little my mother didn't have a job, so my uncle took me in and sent me to school, but before my second grade he died. I was then passed on to my mother’s sister. But my auntie couldn't afford to send me and her own children to school so I stayed home and did the housework.

Not long after I had moved in, auntie got very sick and died. It was too much for me to bear. My mom decided to have me live with her because no one else would. I didn’t know my father, but my mother told me he died a long time ago.

Mom had no job and was often sick, so we had no money. After a while she became worse and bed-ridden. No relatives helped us. If it were not for a church group that brought some beans and corn meal when they visited, we would have had nothing. The food never lasted very long, so I often went out to beg for food or money. It was very hard for me because I couldn't do more for my mother.

“I felt like everyone I loved kept leaving me…”

© UNICEF Zambia/2003/Temba
Frida stands outside the Anglican Children’s Project

One night she got much worse, she was crying and I wasn't sure what to do, so I called a cousin. She came, then got us a taxi and told the driver to take us to the hospital. But she wouldn’t come with me because she was scared she would catch whatever my mother had.

I got in the car and held my mother close. The driver drove as fast as he could, but she died before we could even get through the hospital gate. I was 8 years old, confused and all alone. I felt like everyone I loved kept leaving me.

I learnt much later that my mom knew she was dying and had asked the church to take me to an orphanage when she passed on. She didn’t want me to be alone again, I guess.

“I know AIDS is out there…”

© UNICEF Zambia/2003/Temba
Frida enjoys playing football with other children

I have memories of her telling me to take care of myself and to do well at school. Because of her, I want to become a lawyer when I grow up. I want to fight for the rights of people with HIV because it seems that people with AIDS have no right to love or care. I think something needs to be done about that. 

My life has changed and the way I look at life has changed…I know AIDS is out there; I have seen and lived with it. If I could speak to the world, I would thank those people that have helped children like me. Because of them I have three meals, a safe, warm place to sleep, an education, and most of all I have a people around me that love and care for me. I am very thankful for that.



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