T.H. is 15 and she lives in Obo, in Central African Republic. She agreed to tell us the terrible experience that made her mother so young.
“My name is T.H., I am mother and father orphan, I am 15 years old and I live with my grandmother who has become older and therefore she is not more able to work to guarantee our survival and to pay my school fees. I started selling nuts in Ugandan soldiers camp that is situated in Obo to earn something. One day, one of the soldiers begged me to sweep in his cabin promising to give me some money. When he came back, he forced me to sleep with him and he asked me not to tell it to anybody. He gave me 5000 francs I used to buy some food for my grandmother. 3 months later I realized I was pregnant. When I came back to the camp to talk with the soldier who had made me pregnant, a colleague told me that he was already left towards his home in Uganda”.
I was ready to die
“On the day of childbirth, the obstetrician told me that I had contracted the HIV virus and I should have been caring for all of my life. That news made me depressed, it would have been better to die. Every day I wondered about my future and that of the baby whom I could not maintain. One day I listened a radio transmission and I have discovered that the NGO COOPI takes care of those who has been a victim of violence and sexual exploitation, so I decided to go to their listening center. When I arrived there, I was received heartily by one of their psychosocial operators who asked me to explain what happened. After the conversation, he showed me a colleague who gave me clothes for me and my baby and set me up for a new appointment. I participated at six sessions of therapeutic group with other women and I began to feel the taste again for life and I felt in my love for my baby while before I was hardly able to take care of him”.
I learnt to love life again
“Thanks to COOPI’s activity I learnt to love life and my baby, I could not avoid to consider the father as the responsible of my suffering. I also learnt to accept my HIV status and I continued to participate to COOPI group sessions within the Obo Community Center”
T.H. continues to benefit of the support given by COOPI’s protection project to Obo with UNICEF funding.