WAMATA: Addressing the challenges of HIV AIDS

In order to further explore the challenges and opportunities Tanzania faces related to education, poverty, and health care we visited WAMATA, a non-profit agency in Dar es Salaam which works to address issues related to HIV AIDS.  WAMATA is an acronym for the Swahili phrase “Walio katika mapambano na AIDS Tanzania,” which means “People in the Fight Against AIDS in Tanzania.”  It was the first HIV AIDS organization started in Tanzania and has been providing counseling, micro-finance programs, group meetings, health care advice, and HIV AIDS testing for residents of Dar.

We were warmly welcomed by the WAMATA vijana dance troupe, which uses drama and music to promote educational messages regarding ways to combat HIV AIDS and remove the stigma associated with AIDS.  Following a variety of speeches and a brief historical overview of the organization, we ate lunch with clients (more than 70 attended) who make use of the WAMATA services.  It was a unique and wonderful opportunity for students to hear first-hand stories and gain personal perspectives on an issue that is pervasive in Tanzania.  http://www.wamatatz.org/