Johari, Secretary of Kanyabeza Community Group
In 2009, Johari was one month pregnant with twins when she became seriously ill with malaria. Without access to adequate information about how to protect herself from the life-threatening disease Johari was sick throughout her pregnancy.
When her babies were born she was relieved to find they were both healthy. However, she soon realised that her son had health challenges. He was frequently unwell and had to go to the hospital for a check-up nearly every month where he’d get tested and treated for malaria if the results were positive.
"I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT TO DO TO PREVENT MY SON FROM GETTING SICK. HE WAS SICK A LOT, AND EVERY MONTH I HAD TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL FOR MALARIA TESTS AND TREATMENT."
In 2014 Johari met the chairwoman of the Kanyabeza Community Group, who encouraged her to become a member. Kanyabeza Community Group is a micro-finance group made up of mostly women who live in a rural community outside the town of Kigoma, western Tanzania. Each member pays an initial membership fee plus a small weekly contribution at every meeting. The money is pooled and given to members who apply for a loan, which they repay with interest.
The interest is saved and used to help other members when they’re faced with financial burden. A lifeline when faced with the financial strain of unexpected medical bills.
Johari was embraced by the group, and soon voted in as Secretary. Through the group she has received vital education about malaria, sexually transmitted diseases, birth control and nutrition.
In 2019 Johari says the situation is improving. Her children have been malaria free for two years. She makes sure they sleep under nets, clears the area around her home of stagnant water where mosquitoes breed and ensures the family eats well.
Although there are still many challenges, she feels that at least the malaria situation in her community is starting to improve thanks to the work of organisations like the Tanzania Communications and Development Centre (TCDC), a project supported by the Comic Relief and GSK partnership.
"MY CHILDREN ARE DOING VERY GOOD, THEY HAVEN'T HAD MALARIA FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS..."
Johari is determined to keep up the fight against malaria. As part of its work the TCDC trains volunteers to go into communities and inform groups about how to stay safe and protect themselves against malaria, work that Johari feels is really making a difference in her community and others.