New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Blind HIV-Positive Nyakato Will Have a House for Christmas

Joan Nyakato, the blind and HIV-positive mother of four, whose family lives in a hut about to collapse in the faraway Kisindizi village of Masindi district, will have a safe brick house for Christmas.

The good news follows the publication of Nyakato's story in the New Vision of December 15, 2011, which told the family's dilemma of HIV-AIDS amidst abject poverty.

Nyakato and her family

Now 11 months down the road, the story, which ran under the title "Widowed, Blind, HIV-Positive, all Nyakato Needs is a House", has bore fruit.

Following the story's publication, New Vision readers all over the world have been contributing money towards a habitable house for this family, the highest contributions coming from a group of Ugandans under the Uganda Martyrs' Church in Toronto, Canada, through their music minister Moses Kiwanuka.

Spurred on by follow-up stories in the newspaper on the progress, the contributions kept growing by the day until sh11m was raised from readers, and Vision Group, as part of its corporate social responsibility, topped up the sh2m that stood between this family and safe housing.

As you read this, Nyakato's house, whose construction kicked off on November 9, is nearing completion.

The New Vision corporate social responsibility team and members of the Masindi TASO branch, which is responsible for Nyakato and her HIV-positive child's medication, joined the builders on site at Kisindizi village last Saturday and put in some good ours of big-push work.

The 30 Vision Group staff members, joined by TASO's seven, moved construction materials closer to the site, dug around and did some actual building among other chores, in what brought closer the completion of the house.

The 44-year-old Nyakato, who now looks a lot better than the first time we visited her (thanks to New Vision readers who have been giving her food and other supplies), was all smiles and actually joined the teams at the house under construction, which boasts two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and an outside latrine.

"I can't believe we are finally going to have a real house, thanks to New Vision for telling our story to the world," appreciated Nyakato, who also received some money, clothes and shoes for her and her children, collected from different individuals by the New Vision.

"We can't wait to enter our new house, and from the speed at which it is moving, we might celebrate Christmas in it," Nyakato projected, which Vision Group head of Marketing Susan Nsibirwa, who was also a part of the team, confirmed.

Looks like Christmas for this family will be rosy. You could make it even better with a few supplies, which you can bring to New Vision. You could also choose to educate some of her children, as they dropped out of school due to fees. They are: Theresa Amanyire, Christopher Mujuni, William Tindyebwa and Jacinta Karungi, and their future, despite getting a new house, still hangs in balance.

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