Manzi Ampeire Norman
Institution: Dream Village
Country of work: Rwanda
What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?
HIV/AIDS represents one of the most disruptive threats to Africa’s social and economic development. There is need for innovation to address all the challenges related to HIV, by identifying strengths and building upon them, we can co-create lasting solutions that move us towards a world free of HIV/AIDS and zero discrimination. As a change maker in the HIV field, I was motivated to become an HIV cure advocate because I highly believe that I could learn new information, understand current innovative advancements in the field, as well as enriching knowledge.
What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?
Presently, I run an empowerment programme that builds the capacity of HIV positive young adults to reach their full potential. It aims to make them have a positive and sustainable impact to the society whereby they can realize and nurture their visions and dreams in life. We strive to empower them to become positive ambassadors for people living with HIV who demonstrate the power of surviving against all odds, a generation that takes their own problems and solutions in their own hands. This will reduce stigmatization and promote self-confidence. These empowered adolescents and youth will start social projects in their communities thus being active partners rather than passive recipients since as survivors; they have overcome many hurdles in life.
How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?
It will enhance me with more innovative understanding mostly on the current innovations in the HIV field, for instance on medication, adherence, and resistance among others. The same knowledge I acquire will be trickled down to my groups of participants and community. As they say, the greatest weapon every individual can have is knowledge and information. I highly believe if they get the same information, they will not only live longer but will support a good number to make good life choices which I believe will have an impact on inflicted self-stigmatization as well.