Jane’s Story

Coming Home

After traveling for over 24 hours from Uganda to Tanzania, Jane* and her Willow case manager were exhausted. The last leg of the trip required that the two ride a motorcycle through narrow and winding roads heavily damaged by rain. It was an unexpected hurdle on an already difficult journey but Jane was not discouraged. She had overcome so much already.

A brave survivor and a graduate of Willow International’s aftercare program, Jane was ready to rejoin her family and live the life she worked so hard to reclaim during her time with Willow.

When Jane’s village was in sight, both women felt an overwhelming sense of relief. Standing in the distance, Jane’s family and friends waited to greet her. Tears streamed down Jane’s face as she hugged her children tight—home at last. She thanked her mother for taking care of them during her absence. Songs of praise and worship filled the compound where a local religious leader led the villagers in prayer.

Following the warm welcome, it was time for a tough conversation. Jane’s family was unaware of the trauma Jane faced while away. Jane explained the situation to her parents with the help of her Willow case manager. Her mother and father were upset but incredibly grateful that Jane was alive. They also celebrated the accomplishments that Jane achieved at Willow—opportunities that would not have been available to her had she stayed in the village.

Understandably still coming to terms with what had happened, Jane’s parents continued to ask questions. When the topic of Jane’s health came up, Jane’s case manager carefully helped explain that Jane was HIV-positive. Jane’s mother broke down crying but quickly promised to help support her daughter no matter what. She said she loved Jane unconditionally and always would.

The next day, Jane and her case manager traveled to a local health center in order to obtain ARVs (antiretrovirals) to manage Jane’s HIV status. This process, like the trip, proved challenging but the pair eventually found a hospital that could provide ongoing treatment for Jane.

Having successfully helped Jane acclimate to life in her village, it was time for Jane and her case manager to part ways. Although saying goodbye was difficult, Jane was finally home with her children and parents—happy and ready to start her next chapter.

Each survivor’s health and success is of utmost importance to the Willow team. Like Jane, every survivor is provided with individualized care and given as much time as needed to heal. Once ready to reintegrate with their family and community, Willow helps ensure a smooth transition and is always available to offer ongoing support. By giving every survivor the level of attention and care they deserve, Willow works to ensure their long-term success.

*Pseudonym to protect survivor’s identity.

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