AMKENI MALINDI SUPPORT GROUP, ADHERENCE AND SUPPRESSION
Amkeni Malindi provides a safe space for queer MSMs/MSWs. A young outed MSM can feel very isolated and frequently end up cutting themselves off the world when they lack knowledge, support and a place to fill a belonging need. Isolating oneself normally makes it worse. One way of gaining support is to ensure a person finds a place to feel loved, empowered and accepted, but Amkeni Malindi through Global Fund Kenya red cross has been able to create a space where young MSM/MSWs are able to come learn, share experience and gain knowledge on a day to day basis. facilitating a monthly meeting for a support group where peers meet and share their experience. Most young MSM/MSWs in Amkeni Malindi have testified by saying that they felt better after being brought by their peers and some, peer educators and seeing/learning different informative things. Some even said that life has tremendously changed as he learnt a lot since he got to know Amkeni.
Global Fund Kenya Red cross through Amkeni Malindi has made it their mandate to ensure that the beneficiaries get adequate health information , commodities, HIV biomedical intervention and human right information ,get advice and new skills for instance negotiating for safe sex, relationship skills, treatment, dealing with discrimination, how to manage HIV and side effects etc. As a result, the beneficiaries can attest to the fact that they are not the same as before they came to Amkeni Malindi. They have been impacted positively.
“I was living with my family when I came out as gay. This caught a lot of people’s attention that I lost some friends and neighbours gossiped a lot about me whenever I passed across them. I was no longer valued in the family. I saw myself as a shame in the society since no one was ready to hear me out and understand me for who I am. I found my whole life to be meaningless. I had nowhere else to go and this killed me a lot inside. The only solution was for me to let things be the way they are and live with guilt. I was then introduced to Amkeni Malindi by a queer friend who was volunteering as a peer educator in the organization. Since I visited the organization for the first time I came to realize that I was not alone, I met several queer people with different stories of what they’ve been through, I got to learn a lot about other msms and even got empowered on how to live a better and safer life, I got to know a lot about health education and this gave me hope and made me want to come daily. I even offered to volunteer to serve other young msms who were coming to the dice to seek services.
The organization was advertising for a job position of a receptionist supported by Global Fund Kenya Red cross. I applied for the job since I did journalism and mass communication. I was called to do an interview with several other applicants and I was selected for the job.
My life has changed since then. Now I have my own place and I can also afford to pay my own bills. I’ve gained much respect in the society and also from my family. I am more empowered and vaster in knowledge that I wish to continue serving the community for ever. Am indeed thankful to Global Fund Kenya Red cross for enabling Amkeni Malindi to bring a noticeable change in my life