Grace Lungu, Alice’s young sister, also found herself a regular at AD though not of her own will.
“I finally cracked and went just to get my sister off my back!” Grace laughs as she recalls Alice’s persistence in trying to get her to join. Grace says she couldn’t have been more different from her sister, “Alice was always so out-going and articulate, whereas I was a very timid and shy child.”
While Grace knew from a young age what she wanted, she found it difficult to be that confident, take-charge person who could follow her dreams.
Her first taste of AD had her slightly terrified – “it was so LOUD! Just everything that I didn’t want to be a part of.”
Still, after about two months, Grace decided to give it another shot and attended a peer education meeting. This time, however, she felt excitement growing inside her. At first uncomfortable with people’s frank and open discussions about sex and HIV, she was also intrigued by their ability to discuss and debate in such a mature yet entertaining manner. Grace found the information helpful and wanted to be able to help others understand and be comfortable talking about sexual reproductive health and other sensitive issues as well. She decided she should also open herself and take on the challenge to be a peer educator. Grace soon began coming to the centre everyday to hang out with friends, access the recreation facilities, and do peer education activities.
Grace got her current job as a result of the partnership between AD and Grassroots Soccer (GRS). Working with them, they were able to see the confidence and expertise she had developed in community outreach. Grace has been working as a programme coordinator at GRS for over a year now and thoroughly enjoying it. Like her sister, Grace has a strong desire to empower women. She studied gender and development and is on the forefront of designing new curricula for GRS incorporating women’s components. In her free time, Grace has managed to start an all’s girls football team for OVCs which she hopes to build into a league!
Smiling, Grace says, “AD is my community and will always have a special place in my heart. They built my spirit and made me comfortable in my own skin. No matter what the situation, I can never shrink . . . I just think back to our peer education sessions when everyone would argue amongst themselves and you had to have an opinion.”