Who is at Risk?
The number of children with HIV/AIDS is rising, something Bali Children’s Project has witnessed with children involved in our sponsorship program. It is a cruel reminder of the impact HIV/AIDS is having on Bali’s youth.
Statistics continue to show that, in Bali, HIV-AIDS is now growing fastest among heterosexual young people. Most people who are tested positive are heterosexual males between 20-29 years old (32.5% of all Indonesians tested).
Sadly there is a stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS that sees those suffering forced out of communities. Through fear, many people are not getting diagnosed, and subsequently not treated. Those who are diagnosed become outcasts – many forced out of families and even denied burial rights. Bali Children’s Project has seen this first hand.
The latest publication of the UN AIDS Databook confirms this, with over 50% of survey participants answering that they would not buy fruit and vegetables sold by a person with HIV.
Breaking down stigmatism is a huge part of Bali Children’s Project’s program in creating better awareness amongst Balinese teenagers. Throwing out the social taboo of talking about HIV and AIDS, our workshops provide an eye opening experience for over 10,000 studets (directly) Each year. Towards the end of the workshop there is an incredible moment as Ibu Putri, our facilitator reveals that she lives HIV+. This receives unique reactions and students are given the opportunity to ask questions about Ibu Putri’s journey, as well as the realisation that those with HIV should not be disciminated against.
Juliani (name changed for privacy, picture blurred), is now a 17 year old from Karengasem, east Bali lost her father when she was 13. At the time, her family thought it was through ‘illness’. Juliiani’s father was never diagnosed or medicated.
It shook her whole family. Juliani’s mother started to get sick and was diagnosed as HIV positive.
Juliani’s results were negative. Not only did Juliani lose her father, her mother remarried and was unable to bring Juliani to her new home. It set off a terrible series of event for Juliani, who has struggled coming from a family torn apart.
The whole series of events could have been prevented if Juliani’s father had benefited from sexual education as a teenager.
Informed Decision Making
The real fact behind all of this is that these are all cases that could have been prevented – if adults had learned about health education as teenagers.
With traditional sex education workshops reaching out to over 10,000 individual students directly, technology gives us the chance to go a step further.
Capacity building is now the main focus of this long running program. Giving schools the ability to teach themselves and their communities is the real goal.