The Queen of Family Planning
Emaculata is a petite, unassuming woman. Looking at her, one would never expect the catalyst of social change that lies behind that kind smile. Over the past 12 years, Emaculata, armed with little more than a bicycle and sheer determination, has single-handedly changed the lives of 693 women in the village of Olasiti.
As Emaculata tells it, the first year was difficult. Alarmed by the rate of HIV in her community and the number of children living in extreme poverty, Emaculata approached the Dorobo Fund 12 years ago for assistance to start providing family planning services for women in the village. She began going door to door in the village to talk to couples about their family planning options. That first year, she didn’t receive a single client.
Slowly but surely, the women began to trickle in, coming to her in secret. The second year, she helped three women tie their tubes, the third year, 15. From there, it gained momentum quickly.
Today, women from the village pile into a taxi once a month on Saturdays and head to a nearby clinic. There, they receive family planning services including getting their tubes tied and birth control. Emaculata is also happy to say that the stigmas have changed and she now sees many couples come to her for advice about family planning.
This year, 107 women got their tubes tied and a further 118 women received family planning services.
Emaculata also runs an organic farm where women living with HIV grow organic vegetables and raise pigs to sell at market. The farm provides two-dozen women with healthy, organic food and a stable income so they can provide for their families.
Through the Olasiti Women’s Group, Emaculata also facilitates a small micro-finance program, supported by the production of small crafts, which are sold at the market. In the future, Emaculata wants to expand the microfinance program to give women and men living with HIV more capital to start small businesses, pay school fees and build homes.
Emaculata’s goal all along has been to see happy, healthy families in her community. We are sure you’d agree, she’s well on her way to achieving it.