Princess Kasune Zulu
Princess Kasune Zulu took a bold step when she saw how AIDS was devastating her native Zambia: she refused to stay silent. She started hitchhiking with truck drivers on the transcontinental highways. The men, who frequent prostitutes and then return home to their wives, are at high risk of getting and spreading the virus. As Princess rode in their cabs, she lectured them about preventing AIDS. Princess has shown great courage in her fight against the pandemic. And this fight is personal; she was orphaned by AIDS herself. By age 15, Princess had lost both parents and a baby sister to AIDS-related illness, and was left to care for her three younger siblings. In 1997, Princess launched a campaign to educate other Zambians to protect themselves from infection. At that time in Zambia, AIDS was rarely discussed and carried a heavy stigma, yet she went public. She says, "If we keep quiet, so many more people will die." She spoke to truckers, gave seminars to businesses and worked with churches and schools. She reached even more people by hosting her own national radio show, "Positive Living." The program received honors from the U.S. Embassy in Zambia for excellence in broadcasting on HIV and AIDS. Princess now speaks around the world to encourage people to make a difference for children and families affected by the virus. She has taken her message to the United Nations and international AIDS conferences. In her push for more government resources to fight AIDS, she has met with President George W. Bush and other global leaders. Her story has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and on ABC's Good Morning America, FOX News and BBC News.