VIDEO: Support group empowers HIV-positive women with farming skills

Danielle Bernstein, producer of documentary film “Mothers of A Nation,” shares the incredible story of Florence Lubandi, an HIV-positive mother. This is Part Two of three. Read Part One here.

Florence Lumbandi has fought hard for herself and her family despite her HIV-positive status. As a single Ugandan mother, she has sent all seven of her children to high school and five to university through her hard work in agriculture. She works a few small pieces of land to grow a wide variety of vegetables including greens, maize, pineapple, passion fruit, eggplants, ginger, peppers, millet, sweet potato and herbs.

Florence also raises chickens and was awarded a pig by the Heifer Foundation. Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided environmentally sound agricultural training and livestock gifts. Florence also lends her pigs to other farmers for breeding.

Though her father was a farmer, Florence only started to seriously pursue agriculture after being introduced to a US-based organization called Development in Gardening (DIG). DIG empowers communities to develop sustainable community gardens, improve the nutrition and quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans, pregnant women and other vulnerable populations in Africa and South America.

RELATED: Dealing with AIDS, but first its stigma

DIG was building a community demonstration garden at a local health clinic when Florence approached them about building home gardens for each woman in her HIV support group. Over the course on a few weeks, Rafe and Ansley (the filmmaker) helped build 60 home gardens.

It was through the gift of nutritious food, collaboration and education that Florence has continued to succeed in her work as a farmer and a community leader.

Stay tuned for Part 3 on the ONE Blog