Kelvine is a 19-year old student at Usisya Community Day Secondary School (CDSS). Having joined Temwa’s AIDS Action Club, he’s been using his passion for hip-hop music to pass on vital health lessons.
Like most people in this region of Malawi, Kelvine is from an agricultural background. His family farm their own land, and fish in the nearby lake. They also run a dairy business, which provides enough income to pay the secondary school fees of Kelvine, his older brother and younger sister.
As a young person, Kelvine was always passionate about music and enjoyed seeing friends, but also struggled with the negative pressures of teenage life: “I indulged in bad behaviours, and I felt it is part of life, to do things like smoke and take beer at the community”.
In September 2015, everything changed for Kelvine. He became a member of Temwa’s Aids Action Club (AAC), which aims to slow the spread of HIV and AIDS through peer education. Trained by Temwa, school children raise awareness of the diseases, myth-busting and teaching prevention to friends and colleagues through song, dance and drama.
For Kelvine, joining the AAC was transformative. He learnt to abstain from harmful habits and unsafe sex, instead concentrating on his studies. Even his mother noticed, asking his friends about the change in his behaviour. She said: “Thanks Temwa for establishment of these clubs! My child has changed a lot due to attending the club, and has learnt more skills about HIV and AIDS”.
As part of Temwa’s Straight Talking project, a HIV and AIDS quiz was organised by the AAC, between Kelvine’s school (Usisya CDSS) and another local school. Sixty children came to watch the competition. Kelvine was one of four panellists for his school, and scored the most correct answers! His winning prize included pens, calculator, a maths set and notebooks. Kelvine has also shown his creative side, writing and singing a hip-hop song about HIV and AIDS called ‘We should prevent as youth’. Performing his song at different events has helped teach vital messages of abstinence.
In Nkhata Bay North, HIV rates are much higher than the national average. The importance of HIV and AIDS awareness programmes in northern Malawi is highlighted by Kelvine himself:
“I joined the Aids Action Club so I could learn more about HIV/AIDS; what it does, how to prevent getting it and to pass this information on to my community. This is an important issue facing us and I want to do what I can to help. Education is key to improving our understanding of HIV and I will continue to work hard, complete my studies and share my knowledge.”
Kelvine is one of a whole host of young people making a difference in northern Malawi. You can support their hard work by giving today, or why not check out our online ethical shop for those last-minute Christmas gifts!