Insights - Ruedi Lüthy Foundation

Act against Aids

Insights: Ruedi Lüthy

«Ruedi is a luntaic»

Our team at Newlands Clinic surprised Ruedi Lüthy with a video for his 80th birthday. Team members and companions are sharing anecdotes about the founder of the HIV clinic and are talking about the last year’s developments.

Ruedi Lüthys’ birthday video

He would have never guessed it. Familiar faces appeared on the screen reliving moments long gone. This is how our team at Newlands Clinic surprised him with a birthday video. Ruedi Lüthy was deeply touched by the honest and sincere statements. Watch for yourself.

Insights: Newlands Clinic

Newlands Clinic is dancing

The past few months have been hard on all of us and brought a lot of uncertainty. Nevertheless, our team in Harare kept their eyes on the goal and got stronger and closer.
They left all their sorrows behind and danced away the struggles of the past few months.

Jerusalema Dance Challenge

Our team in Harare surpassed itself in the past few months. Thanks to the support from Switzerland, it was able to fulfill its work despite Covid-19 – spending courage and confidence to people. Together they danced for hope and joie de vivre – from the gardener to the doctor.

Insights: Joline

Women’s support for a greater perspective

Joline lost her ground because of the illness of her husband and the economic crisis. But the mother of three and foster mother never gave up. Thanks to our Women’s Economic Empowerment Project, she gained knowledge on how to establish her own sewing business. Accompany Joline on her way into independence.

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1/7: “I am overwhelmed and will give everything I have. I want to get back on my feet.” In January 2020, Joline gets accepted to take part in our pilot project to support extremely vulnerable women.

2/7: In March 2020, Joline and the other participants received basic business training at Newlands Clinic. “I now understand the management of inventories, budgets, and bookkeeping. This knowledge enables me to run a successful business”, says Joline after the basic training.

3/7: At the end of March 2020, the coronavirus interfered with our pilot project. But our team stayed in contact with the participants through curfew. Some women were able to start their business by following the COVID-19 operating guidelines.

4/7: In September 2020, Joline received a sewing machine amongst other things from Newlands Clinic. “Finally, I can start my business. I am highly motivated to make cloths for the people around me and sew them something gorgeous “, says Joline and starts sewing.

5/7: Joline sold all her freshly sewed garments within three days. She reinvested her earnings in new fabric. “I want to have many more customers”, says Joline. In a stall she is selling her products and hopes to win new customers with a poster.

6/7: In December 2020 all participants met at Newlands Clinic to discuss the first few months. The women’s stories were overwhelming. “My life changed completely “, says Joline “I alone am looking after my children. I am now a businesswoman. “

7/7: Before her family fell into poverty, Joline bought a small property outside of Harare. There she is building a home for herself and her children. “Some walls are standing already, and I recently bought a roof thanks to my new income. My biggest dream is to have my own place that no one can take away from me.”

Our new pilot project at Newlands Clinic assists seriously vulnerable women. They are getting our support to establish their own businesses. These female patients come from particularly challenging circumstances. Most of which stem from them being unemployed, destitute, and some women are survivors of domestic violence. As such, it is imperative to empower women economically as doing so for a better perspective.

Insights: Rumbidzai

Support for a better life

Rumbidzai is a patient at Newlands Clinic for almost 15 years. Being HIV-positive herself, she lost her husband and three of her children because of Aids. The 54-year-old mother is looking after her family all by herself and is providing food to all of them.

«I need to live – who else is looking after my family?»

Rumbi fights every day to make sure that her family survives. She knows how to grow maize thanks to the farming program at Newlands Clinic. She feeds her whole family with the maize she harvests. In the video she is talking about her biggest dream – for her granddaughter to have a better life.

Early in the morning fog is still lying between the huts in the slum Hatcliffe. Rumbidzai puts a green scarf around her head and quietly wakes up her granddaughter Shayleen. She accompanies Shayleen to school by walking two kilometres back and two kilometres forth. Rumbidzai is a patient at Newlands Clinic for 15 years. Aids changed her life. She used to be a teacher and educated kids in school. Now she makes bags and accessoires out of plastic trash to earn a little extra.

Insights: Magret and Rosaline

Fashioning a better future 

There was a time when Magret and Rosaline had nothing to do. Then they were able to set up a small company thanks to the vocational skills training programme for young people run by Newlands Clinic. «Unlimited Fashions» makes home textiles – and has opened up a whole new range of prospects for the young women.

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1/4: Magret (on the left) and Rosaline took part in the vocational skills training programme, and set up their own company together with a young man.

2/4: They cannot afford to pay rent, so their company is based for the time being in Magret's grandmother's living room.

3/4: The sewing machine was provided to the young patients as basic equipment. Their only problem is the frequent power cuts, but this should soon be solved with a solar panel.

4/4: "Unlimited Fashions" sells bedding, cushion covers and home textiles at local markets and to order.
(Photos: Patrick Rohr)

Magret and Rosaline meet us in Mbare, a high-density suburb of Harare. They want to show us their company "Unlimited Fashions", which they set up with a young man, Enoch. All three are patients at Newlands Clinic, but there is nothing apparent to suggest that they are HIV-positive and require life-long treatment.

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Magret, Rosaline and Enoch attended the vocational skills training programme aimed at helping young patients to support themselves. This is desperately needed because young people with HIV not only suffer from stigmatisation, they also have scarcely any career prospects given the dreadful state of the economy. «We just used to sit around all day,» says Magret. Many become depressed because of the difficult situation; young women often marry young and have children, even though they are unable to look after them.

The dream of running a shop

Both Magret and Rosaline already have a child, but they are fortunate in having a support network around them – and with Unlimited Fashions they now also have a small source of income. Competition is tough, but with the help of their mentor they are sticking at it. In the living room, cushion covers and bedding lie ready to be sold at the local market. Enoch is out buying material, Magret busy at the sewing machine, and Rosaline is getting the fabric ready. Their small children sleep in the next room.

«We would like to open a shop,» the young women tell us. There may be a lot of work still ahead, but they are clearly making the most of the opportunity that has presented itself.