Sunday, July 24, 2011

Peer Group Training

The training included information on how Anti Retro Viral (ARV) medications affect the body and how they interrupt the replication process. The information was very technical, but the CAM staff were able to explain the process in simple terms so that everybody had a better understanding.

CAM staff decided to also provide training and insight to the HIV positive group that they care for in a very practical way. The training was on how to read and interpret the blood work that the group receives when they go to the doctor for testing. There is a lot of technical information that doesn't quite get explained to these people by their doctors.

Everybody was encouraged to ask questions and the CAM staff created a fun and relaxed learning environment.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

13th annual HIV/AIDS conference in Bangkok

The CAM staff and several community church leaders around Chiang Mai participated in the 13th annual HIV/AIDS conference held at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. There was 17 people in all traveling from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. The conference was an informative 3 day event with a huge selection of widely varied workshops. The workshops ranged from how to talk to your kids about sex to transgender to human rights issues.

The conference had a grand exhibition hall that had information booths from many NGO and faith based organizations. Skits, dramas and panel discussions were held in the exhibition hall as well.

During one of the workshops Ajarn Sanan the Director of CAM was able to share information about the HIV/AIDS situation in Northern Thailand and what CAM is doing to help bring about greater awareness and ways to address the issues HIV + people face.

Ajarn Sanan on stage being honored alongside other prominent community members throughout Thailand by the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Prime Minister Abhisit was able to get a tour of the Exhibition hall and visit with several NGO's that are committed to working with people living with HIV and AIDS.
Every night the CAM staff processed the days event and were able to learn new things from each other. Overall, it was a great experience.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"My Story"

For the last 2 years CAM has been working with an amazing group of young people by helping them tell their story. These 18 kids ranging in age from 8-17 years old were trained and equipped with cameras to help document their lives and how HIV/AIDS affects them. All the kids are in some way affected by HIV/AIDS either through infection or they are caretakers of family members that are HIV infected. In reality, they have no sense of a normal childhood. They are voiceless and have been put on the margins of society due to no fault of their own. CAM wanted to be a catalyst to help these young impressionable kids process what is happening in their lives and to help them by creating a peer support group. The kids were brought together every 4-6 weeks for fellowship with kids in their own situation and it was a time to share and reflect on what is going on in their lives. During these times together the kids would edit their photos and were working on their scrapbook.

The staff at CAM became more than just people doing their job, they became like family to these young lives. They became the parents of the kids that have lost theirs due to HIV/AIDS. I have been amazed at the resiliency of some of these kids as I hear their tragic stories. Yet, despite their circumstances they are open and upbeat and have a zest for life.

The kids finally got to put together a photo exhibition of their lives and share it with the community. This was also a great chance for them to say how much the people in their lives meant to them. The turn out to see the Photo Exhibition was great and was very well received.

One by one each kid had the opportunity to show his/her exhibition board and explain what the photos represented and how the people in them were important in their lives. In between groups of 4-5 kids showing their photos was a video presentation of their work with music in the background.

I was very impressed with all the time and effort the kids put in on presenting their lives and felt I was watching lives transformed before my very eyes.