Florence Ngobeni Allen: International Foundation Ambassador
My name is Florence Ngobeni Allen, I was introduced to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS foundation (EGPAF) in 1999, at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, South Africa. I was fascinated about Elizabeth’s story of her battle with HIV and how she lost her daughter Ariel to HIV/AIDS. The more I learned more, the more I wanted to be part of what they were doing. This came natural as EGPAF became the first donor in our clinic to fund Mother to Child programmes. They helped us to save so many children’s lives. I was later asked to be their International Ambassador and I agreed and ever since then I believe that EGPAF has touched so many lives beyond expectations.
As EGPAF continued to expand to work in other countries in Africa and in Asia, they have made sure that the voices of women affected by HIV/AIDS are heard. As a mother who has lost a baby through HIV, I felt honoured to be one of the Ambassadors of EGPAF. Together we manage to bring attention to the importance of the involvement of governments and their local partners to influence policy in a positive way. PEPFAR joined in the fight and funded organisations like the EGPAF so that more and more mothers could give birth to children free of HIV.
Through all the advocacy, education, funding and support, women like me were given a second chance to try and have a family again, regardless of the fact that I had lost my husband and child to HIV. Witnessing mothers in my clinic giving birth to HIV negative children, I was encouraged to try as well. After remarrying, we were blessed with two children; Alexander and Kulani , who both tested HIV negative. My life has never been the same, the joy that I was given by both EGPAF and the endless efforts of my government in partnership with PEPFAR gave me a blessing of life.
Today, I am healthy and I am able to contribute positively in my community and abroad, I have a voice and my voice and those of others is being heard. But, our fight is not over.
Even as we celebrate EGPAF’s 25th anniversary, there is still more to be done -- what we need is to see no new infections and no child born with HIV in the future.
I believe that Elizabeth has paved the way for us - she is my hero and I will forever celebrate her efforts and I hope one day our fight will all be a story that I will tell my children and my grandchildren.
Read my Story of Hope here.
Florence speaks at the inaugural Global Champions of a Mother's Fight awards dinner. February 2013
Florence and her son Kulani.
Florence and her son Alex.
Florence and her family today.