Ketty Opoka was a teacher in the small town of Kitgum, Uganda, and mother of six when HIV/AIDS began claiming lives in Uganda. In 1990, after losing a close friend to HIV, Ketty made the decision to leave teaching and sacrifice her salary to dedicate her life to serving the community. She spent the early years of the epidemic taking patients into her home, adopting orphans left behind and providing support to those sick with HIV/AIDS. In doing so at a time when stigma and prejudice surrounding the disease were pervasive and little access to treatment meant early death, she accompanied many people to discover the sense of their lives even in their suffering and ultimately death.
In 1993, Ketty , and some Ugandan and Italian friends, founded Meeting Point Kitgum, a community-based organization that offers care and support services to HIV/AIDS affected people through counseling, home visits for adherence to treatment, and group income generation activities. AVSI Foundation has been honored to support and partner with Meeting Point Kitgum since the early years of its founding.
“I’m happy I learned to love all the challenges that life might bring us through the eyes of people affected by AIDS I had the opportunity to meet and that were able to accept their condition and die with a smile on their faces,” said Ketty in 2015 when she found out she was severely ill.
Ketty died on May 15, 2017 surrounded by her family and many of those she welcomed in her home over the past 27 years.
“We are deeply saddened by this loss, but at the same time we are grateful for her beautiful witness, which we experienced when she came to the United States to talk about her work with Meeting Point Kitgum in Uganda,” says Ezio Castelli, President of AVSI-USA.
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