I have been working in my community for the past 8 years to eradicate violence against women and girls. I have empowered more than 3000 women and girls physically in Nigeria in the course of my work and about 15,000 women and girls through my campaign on radios. Therefore it is very likely that several women and girls even those that I don't know at all would know me as a change maker in my community.
In the early morning of Saturday, 21st of April, 2018 as I was woken up I was hearing a crying beside my house which I thought was a crying of a cat because I never thought a child could be dropped inside the bush beside my house. I was even rebuking the cat that it was woken me with its pathetic crying. After my weekend chores, I decided to go out and enjoy the weekend with my friend. It was on my arrival at 4pm that I met the confusion in my neighbourhood that a baby has been abandoned beside my home. I immediately went to see the baby that has been in the care of one of my neighbours that is much younger and a nursing mother.
On the following day I immediately went to the market to shop for baby things so that we can make the baby comfortable. The case was also reported to the police and state welfare department for necessary documentation. The child law in Nigeria is that the child could not be brought up in the vicinity of where she was found but I insisted that I must be carried along on every step of the child adoption. This week we decided to take the child for immunization and test for HIV and hepatitis B and C.
It was very sad to discover during the test that this child is HIV positive and then the night mare began. Everyone that has been hustling for the adoption of the baby ran away, nobody want to have anything to do with her again, even the orphanages around rejected her. It was then that I realized how terrible the stigma of HIV is in our society. Presently this child is a state hospital but my heart is always with her. I am a very busy person and I had a baby last 18 years ago. I know it will be very expensive taking care of this baby because the retroviral drug is very expensive in Nigeria but yet my heart is always with this baby that I knew I was the target of the mother for dropping her beside my home. The mother trusted me that I could take care of her baby but it is like I am disappointing her right now. I am in a fix, I don't know what to do my friends.