“When I first knew that my eight-year-old son and I were HIV positive, my immediate thought was to kill my boy then kill myself. I wanted to spare us future horrors.” – Ms. M, a 38-year-old widow living with HIV opens up to Ebaa as they were discussing Ms. M’s little boy’s needs as one of the 500 children living with HIV in Egypt.
These were the words Ms. M said during one of the earliest projects Ebaa worked on. Little did Ebaa know but Ms. M’s words were eye-opening to her, because right there and then she knew very well that she did not want this kind of suffering to happen to anyone.
Coming from a medical background, she recognized that the key to creating that safe space lies in improving the health sector in Egypt. So she started as a medical officer in an NGO that provided voluntary counseling and testing for people living with HIV, while also working as a health support unit coordinator in a mobile clinic that provided services to children without shelter. However, the real turning point in her life was when she became a Lazord Fellow two years ago.
During the Lazord Fellowship Ebaa met the most amazing people who taught her a lot about the intersectionality of development and how health is connected to economy, law, advocacy, gender, education and religion. This condensed knowledge made her take big leaps in her time as a junior health programs specialist in her organization (Center for Development Services). After she finished the fellowship, she was offered to continue her work in the very same organization. Now, here she is, the youngest senior health programs specialist in her organization with a track record of seven projects, all aimed to providing better health accessibility to marginalized people.