On the International Day of the African Child (June 16), Elijah Zachary Lemein Simel, a Kenyan boy living with HIV, shared his heartwarming story of how his teacher, Stanley Kyalo, was instrumental to bringing normalcy to his life by helping him cope with the condition and making fellow students embrace him.
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Simel, who lives in the residential area of Kasarani in Nairobi, is 11 years old and contracted HIV from his nursing mother who was unaware she had the condition. The brave young man talks gleefully about attending Nyawai Academy school but revealed that it wasn’t always easy for him.
“When I went to school, I was sad, not feeling healthy. Everything was hard,” said Simel.
Simel started HIV medication and his health was restored, but what was also replenished was his connection to the man he calls “Teacher Stanley.”
Seeing that Simel was struggling in class, Kyalo asked him what was wrong, and according to the teacher, they had an honest conversation “as friends,” with Simel explaining that he is HIV positive.
“Teacher Stanley is really fun. Me and Teacher Stanley, we are best friends,” added Simel.
It was then that Simel asked Kyalo if it was possible for him to learn about his condition in class.
Kyalo, who joined the academy in 2013, decided to reveal Simel’s status to the class and reminded them that Simel is still a normal boy. Effectively easing the students’ fears, Kyalo said the students took in Simel as one of their own and began to play with him like all the other children.
“I think the people they are afraid of HIV, but I am here to tell them not to be afraid. It’s not that bad,” said Simel.
Watch Elijah Zachary Lemein Simel’s story here:
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