You may have seen my earlier blog about GVI South Africa’s new program, the community and wildlife combination, but now the end of my internship has come. During my final week, Kath and I had the last two sessions with the Eco-clubs and the topic was serious and very important: HIV/AIDS.
During our very first week here, one of the students asked Kath and I how we could help him if he had HIV, that was the reason for why we wanted to talk about this topic.
Normally, Kath and I have been assisting at the Eco-clubs, but this week we were the teachers. We were a bit nervous to be talking about this serious topic, but it went better than expected!
|Kath (right) and I teaching
We started off with a group discussion about HIV/AIDS, to see what the students knew about the topic. We also talked about when they first heard about the disease and what their thoughts and feelings around it are. It seemed like all of them had already heard about HIV/AIDS in primary school.
The students knew a lot about how the disease is transmitted and how to prevent it from spreading.
We also talked about some of the myths around HIV/AIDS, just in case some of the students believed in any.
Even though the students knew a lot they didn’t seem to understand the extent of the problem before we showed them some South African stats. With 50.6 million people living in the country, 5.6 million of these people live with HIV/AIDS. I told the students that the number of people that are infected in South Africa is higher than the number of people living in the country I am from, Norway. Their eyes grew bigger when I said this, but they got even more surprised when I told them that 13,7 % of people in Limpopo were living with the disease.
After the discussion and talk around the subject, we gave the students an activity. We split the class into smaller groups; each team had to develop a plan for how they were going to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and how to prevent discrimination against those who are infected. We wanted them to come up with a group name and logo. They had to tell us their mission statements and short and long term goals for the group.
All the teams worked really hard, actually all the students were really focused during the whole club! It was easy to see that this was an interesting and important topic for them.
They were all on the same side when it came to safe sex and they all wanted to educate others in why use of condoms is so important. One of the groups named themselves as ‘HIV- Fighters’, they also had their own slogan, ‘It begins with you!’. They wanted to “reduce the rate of people who are infected with HIV/AIDS by educating people about the dangers of not protecting themselves while having sex.” They also wanted to encourage people to get tested and teach them about the importance of knowing your HIV status.
GVI Intern and Community Program Officer