World YWCA celebrates life of inspirational woman leader Lynde Francis

Lynde Francis, HIV activist and founder of The Center, Zimbabwe.

Lynde Francis, HIV activist and founder of The Center, Zimbabwe.

Staff at the World YWCA join people around the world, especially people living with HIV as they celebrate the life of Lynde who died on March 31, 2009.

“Lynde will be sorely missed. She was so much to all of us and all we can do now is hold onto her great and powerful spirit and ensure that she lives on in all of us whose lives she transformed, ” said Sophie Dilmits, World YWCA HIV and AIDS Coordinator.

Lynde was fighting for her life for some time and the World YWCA stands in solidarity with Lynde’s family and friends to celebrate her life and all that she gave. The World YWCA is an organisation that honours women leaders and Lynde was one such woman.

Lynde was one of the first women in Zimbabwe to disclose her HIV-positive status and did this to support the people of Zimbabwe. She started an organisation called the Centre in her own living room at home and this grew into community based organisation that supported thousands of people and was run by and for People Living with HIV (PLHIV). The centre and the work she did nationally, regionally and internationally has become her legacy.

Lynde will be remembered and respected around the world for her advocacy and education efforts on all aspects of holistic management of HIV, as well as an advocate for the meaningful involvement of People Living with HIV (MIPA). Lynde was also the Southern African Regional Representative for the International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW) and a founding member of the Pan African Treatment Activists movement (PATAM). She served on the board of Women and AIDS Support Network (WASN), Cedas Trust, Zimbabwe Activists on HIV and AIDS (ZAHA) and was a member of the regional reference group for the ecumenical HIV and AIDS initiative in Africa (EHEIA). Lynde was part of the Country Coordinating mechanism for Zimbabwe and a founding member of the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV.

Lynde celebrated 23 years of living with HIV in March this year. She leaves behind a huge family around the world that includes 10 grandchildren.

The World YWCA extends its sincere condolences to Lynde’s family and friends. Her wonderful life of service to women and men, especially those living with HIV, and unwavering commitment to young people will never be forgotten.

By Sophie Dilmitis republished from www.worldywca.org

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