On the outside, Aldrin Shumba may look like a typical teenager, but his journey across the ocean to the United Kingdom and back to his home country of Zimbabwe is nothing ordinary.
Aldrin Shumba is an exceptional high school student. Thanks to the support of the Pestalozzi International Village Trust, a charity in the United Kingdom, Shumba has had the opportunity to study in the International Baccalaureate program in England. With countless opportunities ahead of him, he has chosen to focus his energy toward promoting an HIV-free generation.
His dedication to this cause is a personal one, as he has lost several relatives to HIV and witnessed the pain of stigma and persecution in his own family. Shumba’s aunt passed away after just six years with the condition. She was not treated, as antiretroviral therapy was not readily available in Zimbabwe at the time. The experience left a mark on his life. Shumba’s relatives shared their feelings of isolation and desperation around being deprived of medical facilities and nutritious food. Influenced by their struggles, Shumba decided at a young age to work towards promoting a healthier life.
Fight for an HIV-Free Generation. This is the slogan Shumba has made his personal mantra. At the age of 18, Shumba started a multicultural HIV awareness club called “New Generation,” which has grown to include members from several countries including India, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tibet, Nepal, and Uganda. The club focuses on peer-to-peer HIV education and its message of hope has already spanned many nations. Shumba’s leadership has led to a movement amongst his peers to take a stand against ignorance and promote greater knowledge in their home countries. After discovering the TeachAIDS tools online, he says:
“There were FREE downloadable animations in Hindi, Swahili, Tswana and English. This was a breakthrough which led to more individuals joining my club as they were interested in these animations which we used offline and were culturally compatible with everyone. It was more like watching cartoons to us and we started calling these animations ‘edutainment’ as they provided both education and entertainment.” – Aldrin Shumba
Using the TeachAIDS tutorials, Shumba and his peers were able to enhance their educational initiatives to share knowledge across several rural areas of Zimbabwe and as far away as Tibetan refugee settlements in India during their 2012 and 2013 summer breaks. According to Shumba, the turnout was impressive and included illiterate elders who “depend upon our own native languages like Swahili, Hindi, and Tswana.”
After graduation, Shumba plans to migrate to Botswana, where his mother currently resides, to work with Zimbabwean immigrant women who are especially at risk for acquiring HIV. He says that desperation leads many of these women to subject themselves to commercial sex work in order to support their loved ones. Shumba plans to work directly with these women to empower them and, through education such as TeachAIDS, promote a healthier life.
TeachAIDS applauds the efforts of young leaders such as Aldrin Shumba, who dedicate their lives toward promoting social good.