Becoming a Disabled Woman is a big Issue in Our Families

Graça[1], a 32 years old woman, from the township of Chimoio in Manica Province of Mozambique, a mother of two kids Paulo and Anita[2] of 10 and 5 years old respectively, was divorced with a breastfeeding child (Anita) when she was one year old, for almost four years. Graça divorce resulted in sequence of events that started in a car accident, when she was hit by a car selling roasted peanuts to increase the income of her family, before Anita came. As she states within sniffs “…since that car shocked me I entered in a darkness that had been difficult to overcome…” after a pause she continues “I’d never imagine my husband bringing another woman into our roam because I became disabled while looking for a support to our own family.” In fact Graça was amputated a leg after the accident and as she mentions “…my husband family started to agitate his mind to chase me out since I was bringing bad lack to the family due to my new situation...”. Graça swears (in a firm and louder voice) that regrets for having accepted the second baby pregnancy in a trust that her husband would be strong enough to resist to his family pressure. She goes beyond saying that “… if it wasn’t the fact that I had two kids I’d would have committed a suicide in that day my husband came with another women and they together chased me out of the house with the two kids…”.


After four years of her end of marriage, Graça discovered she was HIV positive and joined (by reference from the hospital) the Association of People Living with HIV (Kindlimuka) in Chimoio where she participate to many support groups sessions and income generating activities promoted by the association, that has financial support and training from Handicap International. She doesn’t know when she became HIV positive, however she recognizes that “I had several unprotected sexual relations with different men who, after lies of staying with me, never wanted to assume a disabled woman with two kids… they promise everything to have what they want[sex]…but, form the lessons I’m collecting with my colleagues and friends at Kindlimuka, there is no way I’ll accept to have unsafe…” she proceeds. Joining Kindlimuka was the best thing that happened to her life after all terror and, therefore brought hope as there she participates to many activities of community outreach, support group discussion and income generating activities.


A study developed by Handicap International in Mozambque reveals that woman with disability within the different types of violence and abuse to what they are exposed sexual abuse is the worst (53%), and woman with visual impairments as they cannot see their partners chit on the use of condom, removing it at any time during the act. Another study, by Handicap International show that youth with disability, specially those with hearing impairments are the least informed and adopting safe practices in relation to risk of contracting HIV infection.

[1] Not a real name due to confidentiality

[2] Ibdem

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Comment by Paula Sampson on September 19, 2011 at 11:30pm

Stigma and discrimination are both stroong issues that we all face as it relates to  HIV/AIDS.  Despite all the work being done there are some many persons who are not being met with imformation.  In addition, the other issues that contribute to the spread of HIV remain untamed too.  Sometimes when the 'what if' this was you question is raised then recognition of personal vulnerability arise. 

Even though many persons appear whole their disabiltiy is within and that is our greatest challenge.  Don't stop till you get enough - messages out and lives changed.

Comment by Joao Arnaldo Vembane on September 13, 2011 at 4:07pm

Hello everybody,


Thank you for your comments. Rituu I thank you for sharing that wonderful tool.

Sampson, indeed ignorance is a huge enemy for all of us. We really need to see eachother as humans and not for what we have to offer or gain. That is possible with people like Anita (do you agree?).


Well come to Paruque to ning... I was missing you allot in this platform.




Comment by Inacio T. Paruque on September 13, 2011 at 3:50pm


Vembane in fact Anita she's really woman because show us that person with disability have equal rights no matter the condition or situation. Thakns to share with us this case.


Comment by Paula Sampson on September 10, 2011 at 12:41am
Wow!  Quite a story.  This shows that ignorance still reigns as it relates to diasbilities.  I remember when I first joined the programme and the question that confronted me, "Are you human?' While the answer came readily for me, I recognise more and more through the inhumane treatment to others that cultures and customs need to be dealt with to bring people to the "human aspect of self."
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on September 9, 2011 at 10:48pm

Joao here it is:

PLHIV with Disabilities in India, from Anagha Ghosh, Shodhana Consultancy, Pune
(Experiences; Examples). AIDS Community, Solution Exchange India . Issued 2 December 2006
Available at (PDF,
Size: 143 KB )
Highlights the need to undertake various studies regarding sexual health in disabled population
on facets of HIV, create awareness, risk assessment and curtail HIV infection

Comment by Joao Arnaldo Vembane on September 9, 2011 at 1:30pm

Thanks for this messages, I'll pass it to her. Indeed her story inspires me as well. There are so many things to learn from her (determination, patience, preservation, care, support, etc.). On the other hand it gives us in idea of how persons with disabilities are seen in our communities.


Rituu, could be great if you could share your experience on that.


Thanks and regards to all members

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on September 9, 2011 at 12:23am
Hi Joao, I facilitated an e-discussion on disability and HIV some years ago. However the way you have captured the emotions, the story of Graca, it gives me a deeper understanding of the issues. Thank you very much!
Comment by Laurence Gilliot on September 8, 2011 at 7:33pm

Beautiful story of a champion! I'm sure she is an inspiration for so many women in Mozambique and the world...

My regards to Graça for her courage and inspiration. I'm sure her children are proud of her!


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