Going from Group Member to Group Leader: Deborah

 In Stories from the Field

MEET DEBORAH, a 34-year-old widow and mother living with HIV. She lost her husband 6 years ago and is caring for their children. Life had become meaningless after testing positive and she even thought of committing suicide.

When she first started the StrongMinds Talk Therapy Group she did not fully trust the other village women. But once she realized that other group members

were facing similar challenges, she became more involved and did weekly homework, which helped her to solve problems. Members encouraged her to live positively, adhere to her HIV medication, and do productive work.

When Deborah’s depression symptoms improved she became more supportive in the group, she gave suggestions and shared her life experiences. At the group’s termination, she realized she had not taken a painkiller for her headaches recently. She is now a happy single mother planning for

her children and has hope for the future. She has learned new skills and how to deal with her problems.

Deborah’s story in still in progress, currently she is being mentored to run her own StrongMinds Group. She has also been selected as the secretary for Voluntary Saving and Loan Association (VSLA), which were started by her StrongMinds Talk Therapy Group. She now feels happy, hopeful, focused, and energetic.

“StrongMinds has transformed my life,” Deborah explained.

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