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Kelkay was abducted at 16 by a man who wanted to marry her. She fell pregnant and so was forced to stay. They had three children before he died of AIDS; she later discovered that she was HIV positive. Ostracised by her family and friends, Kelkay was left alone with her children.

After hearing a couple discussing having HIV on television, she contacted their organisation Dawn of Hope and set up a branch in her area; where she was the first woman to speak openly about life with HIV.

Later, Kelkay and 5 others left Dawn of Hope and founded Tilla; the first organisation for women with HIV or AIDS in Ethiopia. They were supported by Action Aid. They hold public meetings to offer support, advice and education to women and encourage people to get tested.

In 2005 she founded National Association of Positive Women Ethiopians (NAPWE) to link women’s organisations across the country. She ran for election and though she didn’t win she is raising the profile of people with HIV.