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History of Batanai

Webmaster     02:00  2 comments

Hedwick Mhazo, a strong member of
 Batanai HIV & AIDS Support Group
 stands beside a poster of the
 late Auxillia Chimusoro, 
the founder of Batanai.
It all started in 1992 when 12 people living with HIV from different parts of Zimbabwe came together in Harare to discuss their plight as people living with HIV&AIDS. They decided to go back home and start HIV&AIDS support groups. Auxillia Chimusoro, the first woman in Zimbabwe to publicly disclose her HIV positive status came back home to Rujeko T/ship in Masvingo and in the face of stigma, discrimination, ridicule, poverty and sickness, started the first HIV&AIDS support group in the country and called it Batanai.

Auxillia and other members of Batanai went on to work very hard facilitating the formation, training and coordination of support groups in various Districts of Masvingo Province forming the strongest provincial network of support groups in the country that she coordinated under what is now the Zimbabwe National Network of People living with HIV&AIDS (ZNNP+), an organisation that she co-founded with several other people living with HIV.

In 1996 Batanai was registered as a Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO Number 16/96). That same year Batanai members bought a two roomed core house in Rujeko T/ship using profits from their own small income generating projects and later added 4 more rooms in 1998 with assistance from the German Development Services and FEPA, a Swiss funding organisation. Friends of Auxillia Chimusoro in Sheffield, UK and in Germany chipped in with valuable financial, material and moral support that kept Batanai afloat in the absence of major programme funders. Another Batanai friend assisted with computers.

On 19 June 1998 Auxillia passed away.    

Things went quiet at Batanai when in 2000 the Masvingo Provincial Network of Support Groups which had been named the Auxillia Chimusoro Masvingo Provincial Network of People living with HIV&AIDS in honour of Auxillia, was weaned from Batanai to stand on its own as more support was expected to come from ZNNP+, the mother body. All along friends of Auxillia in Sheffield and Germany supported Batanai with small financial and material donations and kept it afloat.

In 2003 efforts were made to revive Batanai as an organisation. It was then that  Farai Mahaso, Auxillia’s first born son and Peter Marimi teamed up to revive it with serious programming funded by PSI and FEPA starting in 2007. Batanai was able to expand its activities as more funding became available.

An external evaluation carried out in 2009 recommended that the name Batanai HIV&AIDS Support Group should be changed to Batanai HIV&AIDS Service Organisation (BHASO) in order to give the correct picture of the current status of Batanai as an organisation and separate it from Batanai support group which continuous to meet at Batanai House in Rujeko while BHASO operates from offices in the Masvingo CBD and in 4 Districts of Masvingo Province.



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