Gladys supports her family by farming and has volunteered for over 20 years as a Community Health Worker. She has 9 children of her own and has taken in 6 orphans.
In her community health work, she serves as an interface between her neighbors and the health system. She is responsible for 120 households, going door-to-door with health education and support that’s aimed at preventing the most common illnesses. As a community health worker, she is often selected for paid projects when local organizations like the Red Cross come to town with projects such as childhood immunization, family planning, HIV counseling and testing, and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of AIDS.
Gladys sees her community health work as a way to support her village. “It is hard to see sick children and have nothing to give them”, she says. “Or to talk with pregnant women who won’t deliver in the hospital because it’s too far away. I am sometimes put in the difficult position of having to help a laboring woman deliver, but knowing that the woman would have more skilled and professional assistance at the health center.” But the job has many benefits. It gives her a respected role in the village and she feels good knowing that she is teaching and modeling good health practices to the families she serves, and good community service behavior to her children.