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International News

Organization Supports Zimbabwean Women Affected by HIV/AIDS

April 19, 2011

University of Pennsylvania graduate student Jennifer Kyker leads an organization that provides comprehensive educational support to young Zimbabwean women affected by HIV/AIDS.

Kyker founded Tariro -- "hope," in the native Shona language -- in 2003. The non-profit reflects her lifelong interest in Zimbabwe. At age 10, Kyker began playing a traditional Zimbabwean musical instrument, a marimba, after being inspired by a group that visited her elementary school in Eugene, Ore. That led to her spending time in the country as a teenager, returning in 2002 on a Fulbright scholarship.


Kyker made a friend in Blantina Chauruka, whose family played host to her as a teen. "As young teenage girls, Blantina and I shared similar hopes and dreams despite our different backgrounds," said Kyker. But Chauruka's father then died of AIDS, disrupting the family and forcing Blantina to leave school and become a maid. Kyker helped her return to school, sowing the seeds of Tariro.

"I wanted to do something small to try and help girls who had lost their parents so they could at least finish high school," explained Kyker.

With an annual operating budget of $75,000, Tariro pays school fees for 65 girls, most of whom have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The organization also provides essentials, from school uniforms to sanitary pads, that students need to attend class regularly. HIV counseling and dance and music lessons are offered as well.

Tariro is sponsoring one girl at the University of Zimbabwe, with plans to support three others. "Our model is different from a bare-bones paying school fees for a hundred thousand children and hoping that a few of them turn out OK," said Kyker.

Back to other news for April 2011

Adapted from:
Philadelphia Inquirer
03.28.2011; Trishula Patel

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More News on HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe

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