Tag Archives: girls

Jukwa performance by Tariro students

Filmed in 2009, this short clip shows students in Tariro’s traditional music and dance ensemble performing a rhythm called jukwa.  They are accompanied by Tariro’s wonderful music and dance instructor, Daniel Inasiyo.  Enjoy!

From Tariro’s director: Highlights from the 2010 Annual Report

A group of Tariro students at Chembira school, in Glen Norah

Between finishing my dissertation, being hired as a faculty member at Eastman School of Music, and moving across the country, it’s taken me a long time to finish editing this year’s annual report!  It is finally completed, and in the next few posts, I’m going to share some of the highlights of Tariro’s 2010 Annual Report with you. I’ll begin with highlights from our educational sponsorship program for girls in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS, which represents the central and most important aspect of our work.  In subsequent posts, I’ll proceed to expand upon the pyscho-social support programs we provide for our sponsored students, as well as some of the highlights of the work done by our many volunteers in the United States, in support of our programs in Zimbabwe.

In 2010, Tariro provided comprehensive education support for 57 students, including 8 students enrolled in the last years of primary school, 46 students enrolled in high school, and 3 students attending university.  This included 15 new students who were recruited into our programs to replace students who had finished high school in 2009.  For all of our sponsored students, we covered educational expenses including tuition, student ID cards, uniforms, and school supplies.

Tariro's director Jennifer Kyker with Pauline K., Tariro's first university graduate!

Tariro is especially proud of the following accomplishments in 2010:

  • We celebrated our first student to graduate from the University of Zimbabwe, Pauline K.
  • We have committed to continue sponsoring a second student, Tatenda C., who passed her Advanced level exams and was accepted as a first-year student at the University of Zimbabwe.  In addition to covering the costs of her education, Tariro has provided her with career guidance counseling and additional advocacy with University administration, enabling her to select an appropriate course of study at the UZ.
  • Our students collectively maintained a 98% attendance rate at school!  This incredibly high attendance rate was made possible in part by our monthly distribution of free sanitaryware to all sponsored students in need.
  • Six of our students won awards for academic excellence.
  • 16 Tariro students completed high school and wrote their Ordinary or “O” level exams in 2010; of these 16 students, 5 passed with scores high enough to qualify for Advanced or “A” level study, in preparation for attending university.
  • Finally, Tariro raised over $2,000 to send our student Noleen C., who was born with spina bifida and is confined to a wheelchair, to St. Giles school, where she is now receiving exceptional care and making good progress.

The dramatic results Tariro is able to achieve with our sponsored students are a result of intensive case management, including outreach activities at local schools, and regular monitoring of student progress via school and home visits.  In addition, we provide a range of support services for our sponsored students, such as a lending library, our annual empowerment camp, and our traditional music and dance program.  Highlights from these psycho-social support programs will
be the emphasis of my next post.

As we enter the fall fundraising season, please consider joining Tariro by making a donation, enabling us to continue making such a tremendous difference in the lives of our sponsored students.  Thank you for your support!

In the beginning: Thinking through the history of HIV/AIDS

How has HIV/AIDS been understood in the northern hemisphere? One answer is found in Paul Farmer's work on HIV/AIDS in Haiti. (click on map for a close-up view)

AIDS is a global problem and there should be a global solution found by the entire international community. It is really scary to see and imagine our world fall into pieces because we refuse to share and put in the common vestiges of our civilizations.            – Actress Sarah Polley speaks out on contamination, zombies, and AIDS

This weeks blog post, written by intern Megan Bauer, arose from conversations with the Tariro’s founder, Jennifer Kyker, over the past few months, and is Part 1 of a three-part discussion.  Today’s post is going to discuss the history of AIDS and how it began, followed by a discussion of all the groups who have been accused of spreading it, and finally, a look toward the future.

AIDS and accusation

While talking to Jennifer, she asked me what I have learned and found the most interesting since I have started my internship.  One of my answers was my surprise upon learning that the first diagnosed case of AIDS was in the United States, leading to our conversation about why, when people think of AIDS, their next thought is almost always about Africa.

Trying to understand why HIV/AIDS is coded as an African disease, Jennifer directed me a book called, “AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame”, written by Paul Farmer.  The book tells the story of how, when AIDS first got attention in the 1980’s, many people looking for the origins of the virus initially laid blame on Haiti, suggesting that Haitian migrants to the United States, as well as American tourists in Haiti, were primarily responsible for spreading the virus.

Looking at the History of HIV/AIDS

According to avert.org, “The first recognized cases of AIDS occurred in the USA in the early 1980’s.” At this time there was not a name for the condition and physicians were not yet aware of what they were up against. “Several physicians in Los Angeles observed that Pneumocystis carinii, a harmless parasite to those with intact immune defenses, had caused pneumonia (P.C.P.) in several young men without recognized states of immunodeficiency” (Farmer 125). The Center for Disease Control (CDC) began monitoring the drug distributions and noticed that in five of the cases for men being treated with PCP in Los Angeles all of them were active homosexuals:

By the end of the summer in 1981, 108 cases of Kaposi’s sarcoma, (a form of Cancer), and unexplained opportunistic infections had been reported to the CDC. The vast majority of cases were from California and New York. Of those afflicted 107 were men; over 90 percent of these men stated that they were gay and sexually active. (Farmer 125)

When the idea of an epidemic began to surface, American health specialists began reviewing records and saw that “there had been unexpected clusterings of Kaposi’s sarcoma and opportunistic infections beginning in early 1977″ (Farmer 125).  Shortly after American specialists began noticing the unexpected clusterings Haitian physicians began seeing similar conditions of immunosuppression, leading to the detection of the first Haitian case of Kaposi’s sarcoma in June 1979 (Farmer 125).

Blaming Haiti

During this time fear of an epidemic began to surface, and the United States officially defined this unknown immunosuppression as AIDS.  There were categorized symptoms that physicians in the United States had come to associate with the disease and these symptoms “were strikingly similar” to those that began showing up in the people of Haiti.

This is precisely the moment in time when the accusations began. Physicians of the United States began to claim that Haiti had the first case of HIV, and that the gay population from the United States brought it back to America after contracting it from male prostitutes in Haiti.  People in the United States also made remarks that weren’t proven by science at all.  For example, they perceived Haitians who practiced voodoo to be “rugged and gross individuals,” and suggested had participated in spreading the condition to the United States.  From this point forward, tides of hate and blame began to intensify, leading the Haitian government to initiate a study entitled the Haitian Study Group on Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (GHESKIO), to fight against these accusations.

The point of Farmer’s book is that since the beginning of time people have always looked for someone to blame, whether that group is Haitians, the gay community, or Africans.  However, we may never know who had the very first case of AIDS, and the origins of the virus should not be our primary concern.

Moving forward

In next weeks post I am going to delve farther into the history of accusations, discuss various groups who have been accused of spreading the disease since the initial blame laid upon Haiti, in order to show readers that blame and accusations have never been consistent with respect to HIV/AIDS, but have put on changing groups of people throughout history.  While people have often sought to blame someone for this terrible virus, however, its history remains unclear.

In the present, our job is to recognize that it doesn’t matter how the problem started- what matters is how we respond to HIV/AIDS right now.  Tariro’s response is one of educating young women and girls, a population that is simultaneously at the highest risk for contracting the disease, and the group made most vulnerable through the effects of HIV/AIDS on their communities, as they loss parents, teachers, and other community leaders to the disease.  Please join us in our work!


Good news from Tariro’s traditional music and dance ensemble!

Tariro girls dance wearing traditional magavhu leg rattles

In today’s post, I’d like to share news from Tariro’s traditional music and dance ensemble.  As my own personal history with Zimbabwean music led directly to the formation of Tariro, our traditional music and dance group is one of my favorite parts of our work.  Weekly rehearsals, led by master dancer Daniel Inasiyo, provide our students with a space to develop confidence, self-esteem, and social networks with their peers, in addition to gaining practical skills as musicians and dancers.  The traditional dance group has also led to great collaborative projects, such as our fundraising CD, Maungira EZimbabwe, as well as our ongoing partnership with the marimba group Hokoyo, in Eugene, OR.

Peer instruction is an important part of Tariro's traditional music and dance rehearsals

As our traditional music and dance group continues to develop, I’m happy to report that instructor Daniel Inasiyo recently shared some good news with us!  First, we’re very pleased to announce that several of Tariro’s newly enrolled students, who joined us in 2011, have joined the group, infusing rehearsals with new energy!  Several of these new students entered the group with a background in traditional music and dance, after having participated in an ensemble as part of their primary school education.  We’re happy to have a new group of musicians and dancers sharing their skills and experience with the rest of the ensemble!

New participants in the ensemble include many students with previous experience in traditional music and dance

Second, our ensemble is now officially registered with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.  Our official status at the arts council will assist us in working toward gaining recognition and visibility within Zimbabwe, as well as securing performance opportunities at cultural events, giving us a platform to share our wonderful work with other organizations and individuals in Zimbabwean civil society.  Finally, Daniel also reports that he has ordered a new set of costumes for the group, to replace our old costumes, originally purchased in 2008.  We can’t wait to share photos of the group in their new uniforms in the coming months!

The support Tariro receives from individuals, foundations, and organizations around the world is critical to our ability to offer this incredible empowerment program.  Thanks again for your donations, which enable us to pay school fees for girls in Zimbabwean communities affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as offering extracurricular activities like the traditional music and dance group!

Introducing Ashley B.’s Hero Story

Dedicating the story:

While Tariro is a non-religious based organization and works with girls of many different beliefs, many of the students have found support through their individual practices, such as Christian Protestantism. In Ashley B.’s story her faith is shown very clearly, as it is with many other girls who write about their beliefs.  Ashley decided to dedicate her Hero Story to Jesus Christ. She believes without him she wouldn’t have had the fortune of all the blessings in her life.

My hero is my Lord because he gave me my mother who takes care of me, my grandparents, trees which provide oxygen for my life and also Tariro organization. Thank you Lord.

Venturing to the past:

Ashley discusses in her story the hardships she has faced.

Going to school without school uniform and October 27, 2000 when I was 8 was the day that my father passed away.

Making progress for the future:

I am now in form four. I live with my ninez in Mhondoro. I always study my books in order to pass. My favorite subjects are Mathematics, Science, and English because I dream to be a nurse.

Hoping for the future:

This picture refers to my wedding day. May people come to celebrate my wedding day.

Continuing with blog posts:

Thank you for reading a story from one of the girls once again. It is amazing to me to see the themes within each story that really come out to show how the girls are similar but also different.

However even though I see commonalities between the girls when reading the stories I also see each girl as a unique individual that I am getting to know better through their personal story, just as I hope you are as well.

Looking specifically at Zimbabwe after the UN council meeting

The first case of HIV was discovered by scientists in June 1981, since then the epidemic has continued to grow. With it’s growth we have seen a numerous amount of deaths, but there have also been strives. Partners in Zimbabwe wrote an article about the HIV epidemic specifically related to Zimbabwe after the UN council meeting in New York. The article discusses Zimbabwe’s challenges, achievements, and opportunities.

Looking at the challenges Zimbabwe faces:

In the world Zimbabwe still has one of the highest HIV infection among all the countries. “It carries the third largest HIV burden in Southern Africa and has one of the highest rates of premature adult mortality, largely due to HIV-related illnesses.”

The second most significant source of new infections is mother to child transmission. “Approximately 1 in 3 infants born to HIV infected mothers are HIV infected.”

AIDS still remains a leading cause for death in Zimbabwe. “It is estimated that in 2010 alone 59,318 adults and 11,981 children died of HIV-related illnesses.” The other tragedy is that, “AIDS related deaths have left in their wake large numbers of orphans and vulnerable children: it is estimated that 25% of all children in Zimbabwe have lost to AIDS one or both parents.” However Zimbabwe is committed to achieving the goal of zero new infections.

“Latest estimates place the 2010 adult HIV prevalence at 13.13%, which brings the estimated number of people living with HIV to about 1.2 million, including 145,225 children under 15.”

Looking at Zimbabwe’s achievements:

Even though there are 1.2 million people living with HIV the percentage of new cases every year continues to decline. “The first cases of AIDS in Zimbabwe were reported in 1985. For the next decade, HIV prevalence continued to rise and peaked at 29% in 1997. HIV prevalence has fallen significantly since the late 90s, down to 16.06% in 2007 and further down to 14.26% in 2009.”

Zimbabwe has also done with with making the antiretroviral treatment more accessible to the people. “By the end of 2010, a total of 314,927 adults (60% female) with advanced HIV infection were on ART representing coverage of 54% based on the revised (2010) WHO guidelines, up from just 8.3% in 2005. A sizeable number of children were initiated on ART: 32,430 children were receiving ART by the end of 2010, which constituted about 37% of the total number of children in need of ART, which was estimated at 89,490. It is estimated that annual AIDS-related deaths decreased from 123,000 in 2006 to 84,000 at the end of 2009.”

Looking at the future:

Through all of these messages coming from different sources we all must stay positive and continue to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. It is troubling to see how many people are living with HIV, but it is inspiring to see how the number of new infections in decreasing.

It was interesting for me to see how many mothers pass on the condition to their children. Through seeing how many new children are infected I believe that it is more important now than ever for Tariro and organizations like it to continue sponsoring young girls and keeping them in school. Stopping the spread of HIV to these girls will not just stop with them, but if they succeed because having the ability to go to school they won’t be a part of the statistic of mothers that spread HIV to their children. The cure will not just come from an immediate solution, but a long term one in which we break the cycle of girls receiving the condition and spreading it on to their kids.

Looking back at the last 30 years

According to a recent article from PlusNews Global we have now reached the third decade since the first case of HIV was diagnosed. “An estimated 30 million people have died, another 34 million are living with the virus and an estimated 7,000 new infections occur every day.” However according to the article the news isn’t all bad. We have also seen a 25% decline between 2001-09 for the new cases of HIV. Also last year a record 1.4 million people started antiretroviral drugs. The article categorizes the successes as well as the failures for treating HIV in recent years. The following statistics have all been contributed a new report from UNAIDS.

Looking at the pure numbers:

- Between 1981 and 2000, the number of people living with HIV rose from less than one million to an estimated 27.5 million;

- In 2010, an estimated 34 million people were HIV-positive;

- The number of new infections has steadily declined, with the annual rate of new infections falling by nearly 25 percent between 2001 and 2009.

Treating the infections:

- Between 2001 and 2010, the number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment rose nearly 22-fold, with an estimated 6.6 million people on treatment globally by December 2010;

- An estimated nine million people who qualified for ARVs did not receive them.

Looking at the future:

While we have seen an increase in the number of HIV cases we have also seen a decrease in the rate of new people being diagnosed. This statistics may seem overwhelming but it is important that we realize that in time we can continue to work towards a goal and solution.

I wanted to share these statistics with you because they remind me of how many lives are being affected in this world but also make me hopeful that in the future the rate of newly diagnosed will continue to decline.

It is Tariro’s mission to prevent the further spread of HIV by educating young girls. Through educating these girls we can make it less likely for them to fall in the same pattern as their parents did and help them to achieve a brighter future with education.

Thank you for reading this week!

Here is the link to the actual article if you’re interested in reading more: http://plusnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=92883