Skip to main content

MALIJO BAJI: An Extraordinary Lesotho Woman!

Malijo Baji
PHOTO CREDIT: Malijo Baji
“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got up again”-Nelson Mandela

Malijo Baji, popularly known as Tebello Sents`o (maiden name), is a Mosotho lady born and groomed in a villiage called Qoaling in Maseru-Lesotho. Malijo has battled quite successfully with the HIV/AIDS pandemic for the past 16 years. She has been and still is a grudge to many who are terrorized by this pandemic in our small mountainous Kingdom-(rated number two HIV infection rate in the world). She is therefore worth mentioning as we celebrate phenomenal African women. 

It was in 1999 that Baji discovered she was infected with HIV, she was pregnant with her second child and not yet married, at the time, HIV/AIDS was still very rare, there was a lot of stigma attached to it perhaps because people didn’t know much about it as they do now. Young, pregnant and HIV infected! This was a really rough patch for any African youth. What made matters worse for her was that it was on her second pregnancy (the first she was doing form D/ grade 11) that she discovered her HIV status. She had clearly won the deviant (black sheep) title in her community- this however did not keep her down.  She decided to fight. “At that time(1999) all I thought of was death, I would ask myself everyday whether I would live to see the next day, every day seen  was a miraculous  victory” she says. 


Her CD4 count was “94”, her body was spotted like a cheater but only with sores, she oozed blood and discharge in her ears, and she suffered very painful piles in her rear. The last brow to her expectations, was when she got deserted by the person we could supposedly call her first love, the first baby’s father. ARV`s were also very expensive at that time, they went for R3000 per pack, which was very expensive for the young sales agent. Quite luckily, she got sponsored by her employer who pledged to take care of her medical expenses; she also got a lot of support from her family and her new boy friend (now her husband).

2004, Baji saw change, PSI-Lesotho (Population Services International) with its “New Start” program ignited her desire to fight HIV/AIDS and even more; it gave her a job. She had become relatively stronger and had formed her first support group (Leratong Christian youth support group) to create awareness, this group grew rapidly like a tumor, in no time it had mothered many more groups in her village and countrywide. She became very popular in our local radios and television hosting and being guest to some health talk shows. She would be invited to churches and various organizations to educate people on HIV/AIDS. Very quickly she won over the support of prominent medical doctors and counselors. This was a point in the bag for her because it meant more seminars and workshops. She was obviously fighting a winning battle. On numerous counts, she would accommodate HIV/AIDS infected peoples in her home, hosting them until they were better and ready to go back to their respective homes - this she did from her own pocket. She was made senior counselor shortly after joining PSI.

Baji continues her fight against HIV/AIDS even today, her number one desire is an HIV/AIDS free Lesotho, she is a motivational speaker and part of a movement called sisters of Dorcas. She continues to encourage and motivate many people. Her works attracted so many eyes that when she got married in 2004-May, her marriage made the SABC television headlines.

Presently, Baji works as a counselor at JHpiego- Lesotho counseling men who need circumcision services; she is happily married and mothers two children. Amongst her milestones, Baji scooped:

  • 2007 EXTRAORDINARY CONTRIBUTOR AWARD (PSI-Lesotho)

  • She made committee member of LENEPWA (Lesotho Network of people living with HIV/AIDS)

  • She became coordinator of LESS AIDS LESOTHO

  • She worked with Dorcas AID Lesotho as a home based care giver.

  • She is deputy chairperson of a local high-school board. (6th year on board).

  • She represents woman in LESOTHO SMART PARTNERSHIP. 


Malijo Baji has dedicated her life to fighting HIV, she is a strong believer in God and normally accompanies her inspirational testimony with her favorite scripture; Psalms 91.

Truly “Mosali o tsoara thipa ka bohaleng” –Lesotho proverb (loosely translated, a woman holds the knife in the blade)



BY MASUOANE ROBERT KAEANE
  

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Call For African Youth Activists

What is an “Ignite Activist”? ­ An Ignite Activist is a high powered​ and ambitious young African individual. They are patriotic about their own country and the African continent as a whole. They are keen to speak out, share their opinions or experiences, and are always ready to defend the well-being of the African Youth! As vocal youth activists, they strive to not only lead the conversation on African Youth, but to ignite young Africans into Change-makers!
About Our Youth Activism Program ­ For a period of up to 6 months, corresponding youth activists will be engaged under the leadership and guidance of our International Panel. While there will be a formal set of activities, youth activists will have the liberty to call upon fellow members towards a particular cause, post and share articles or video messages to make themselves and their views heard! After 6 months of voluntary service, these members will be accorded with Alumni status and receive adequate recognition for their selfle…

Bisharo Ali Hussein (Somalia) - African Youth Role Model Series

Bisharo Ali Hussein is a Kenyan-Somali activist and outspoken champion for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Somalia. She channels her activism through her career as a Protection Officer for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Galkayo, Somalia and also served as an African Youth Activist of Ignite The Youth from 2015 to 2016. As an Ignite The Youth activist she shared on the youth experiences of conflict in her country and “Ensuring Access to Education for all”. Her most spirited campaigns however were part of her Women’s Rights agenda; which focused on demanding an end to Female Genital Mutilation and early marriage, and her advocacy for Gender Equality; arguing for gender-biased inheritance laws to change. Bisharo is currently pursuing her Postgraduate Diploma in ‘International Gender Studies’ at the University of Iceland.
Almost 2 years after serving as a corresponding activist for Ignite The Youth, Bisharo insists that Somali women remain one of the most vulnerable groups in…

The African Youth Commission [PROFILE]

"From Internet Community to One Governed by a Constitution"
The African Youth Commission (AYC) was founded in November 2013, as the African Union Youth Working Group (AUYWG), at a Youth Consultation on Agenda 2063 in Tunis,Tunisia. From 2013 to 2015 the AUYWG collaborated via an active mailing list, for the 2 years of online interaction the network invited numerous African Youth Leaders in the continent and diaspora. The working group later changed into a Commission as the cause of the network evolved by consensus to create a youth mirror to the African Union Commission. 
"The main objective of establishing the Commission is to organize all young people in Africa and Diaspora...to support the work of African youth, Youth structures (Pan African Youth Union & Youth Division of the African Union Commission) in their quest to effective service delivery and advocacy activities on the African Youth Charter..." - AYC
At this point the Commission proceeded to draft its o…