PIUMA has active village chapters

Only a few kilometres outside of Bulongwa lie Ilolo and Utanziwa, two small villages set in the rolling valleys of the Livingstone Mountains and separated by only a narrow trail. Despite their miniscule size, these villages are home to many PIUMA members, so many that they almost account for half of the local population.

As encouraged by PIUMA, many of the members in these villages banded together to form the Tumaini, or Hope, Group. Their focus? To educate the community about HIV, and to show that if treated properly, HIV need not hamper one's lifestyle.

PIUMA has also encouraged its members, particularly its groups, of which Tumaini is one of seven, to use their talents to pursue economic activity, which is exactly what the group from Ilolo and Utanziwa has done. Using their flare for song and dance, they inspired a donation from the diocese in Makete that allowed them to buy cabbage seeds, beginning their self-sustaining activities.

From their humble beginnings with 11 members, they have grown to 22, now collectively owning several cabbage plots, two goats, two fish pools, and 12 chickens, soon to be 22, or one per member. All of this has been accomplished by pooling their resources together and trading up with the profits of their sales. Their activities are also designed to send a powerful message to the community: "because we are treating our HIV with ARV's, we are strong and fit and active," says Miandoko Kilemile, Chairman of Tumaini, as elected by its members.

In addition to their collective projects, each member still cultivates their own farm and takes care of their families. Some even have individual PIUMA facilitated projects, such as carpet or basket-making. The group meets frequently at the nearby primary school to discuss their future endeavours in business and education, to support each other, and often just to have fun. Every meeting ends with a dance, accompanied by traditional drums and a guitar. In Ilolo and Utanziwa, PIUMA Imara Kama Simba!