This week, more than 7,000 young women will become infected with HIV. There will be 7,000 more next week. And the week after that.
Patricia and Consolata, an amazing mother-daughter duo, have refused to accept this and we should too.
This September, Prime Minister Trudeau will host world leaders in Montreal for a replenishment summit for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, whose work has helped bend the curve of AIDS and saved more than 17 million lives since 2002.
In their letter they call on Prime Minister Trudeau to continue his leadership on the fight against gender inequality and to protect #GirlsEverywhere from HIV.
Add your name to their letter. Together we are stronger!
- Prime Minister of Canada/Premier ministre du Canada
Patricia: My name is Patricia Ochieng. I’m writing to you as a fellow parent, feminist, and someone who can not accept that there is nowhere on earth where girls have the same opportunities as boys. Like you, I am blessed to have a beautiful daughter. Consolata is 25 now, but she will always be my baby. She is smart, and funny, and strong willed. She has so much to offer the world.
I’m really grateful that I’ve had a mom that has raised me to be a strong, independent young woman. Most girls where I live are not so lucky. Girls are looked down upon. They are expected to be submissive - to say yes to everything and not ask any questions. Too often girls are abused or raped, and because they don’t understand
their rights or the power of their voice, they stay quiet. This inequality has serious consequences. Just this week, 7,000 young women will become infected with HIV. There will be 7,000 the following week. And the week after that. As a leader, and as a champion of change, this is something that I can not accept. Can you?
It would be easy to look at the current situation and lose hope. But we refuse to. Because twenty years ago, two weeks after I gave birth to Consolota, I discovered I was HIV positive and had unknowingly passed the virus to my daughter. At the time, there was no treatment available to us. We were waiting to die. But then the world came together to create a war chest to fight back. That war chest was the Global Fund. This is the only reason that Consolota and I are here today. This is why we have dedicated our lives to trying to improve the lives of others.
My mum and I are doing everything in our power to change the future for girls and women across our country.
And that will only be possible if we work together. I want to say thank you for your leadership in this effort and implore you to continue it.
We will be working alongside you until there is no more work to be
Consolota and Patricia Asero Ochieng
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