Children stand in front of a local store in a mountainous region of Swaziland—the country with the highest HIV rate in the world. One in every four people is infected with the virus, while everyone in this small country is affected. The children of Swaziland suffer the most, many losing their parents to the epidemic. But the children are also the future, empowered with knowledge and hope that the HIV epidemic can be conquered.
According to statistics, it is likely that at least one of the children in the photo has HIV.
Peace Corps Volunteer Tiffany Saria works with Grassroot Soccer in Zambia, using soccer to teach HIV-prevention. She uses innovative curriculum, games and soccer activities to education youth about HIV transmissions and life skills.
I served in Peace Corps Mozambique from September 2007- November 2009. During my time, I started a community art group within the secondary school, as a branch of JOMA (a Portuguese acronym for “Youth for Change and Action”). JOMA is a nationwide youth development organization started by Peace Corps Volunteers that uses communication mediums at the local level to promote healthy behavior among Mozambican youth, with a mission of social change.
My group in Monapo, Mozambique created over 5 murals in our community to promote awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS. This photo is with Momade Abdul, the group leader, helping create a mural in our local market named, “The fight with AIDS starts with us.”
In this video featured at the Peace Corps World AIDS Day Film Festival in Washington, D.C., on December 1, 2009, Education Volunteer Alison Boland shares how Peace Corps Volunteers in Mongolia combine HIV/AIDS work with sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention education in order to prevent the rising threat of an HIV/AIDS outbreak and to increase the overall awareness of sexual health among Mongolian youth. The video was produced by Alison and Health Volunteer Patrick Olsen.
Students Reading the Truth and Myths About HIV/AIDS
At my primary school in Burkina Faso, I collaborated with the teachers to teach the oldest grade level about the myths and the truth about HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and stigma. In the photo students are reading a hand-out before we began the activity.
A student in Morocco holds some of the ribbons that were distributed during a local music festival. Volunteers, a Moroccan HIV/AIDS organization, and local high school students conducted outreach and HIV testing.
Two boys are walking home from school, one is HIV positive and the other HIV negative. Swaziland has a HIV prevalence between 26-33% percent depending on what study you are looking at. Everyone everywhere is living with or around it and yet it is still not openly discussed. These boys defy that norm though and that is partially due to the fact that they can’t remember a time when things were different. The positive boy helps his brother with his schoolwork while the negative boy helps his brother to take his ARVs. Through the simple act of brotherhood, these two boys are helping a community fight stigma and helping to solidify the idea that HIV is a part of daily life.
These photos were taken on May 20, 2011 at the HIV/Aids candlelight memorial in Ukraine. Students of all ages participated in a candlelight walk, quizzes focused on prevention and stigma reduction, behavior pledges, and presented interpretive dance, song and readings. The evening ended with an outdoor disco in what is now an annual event.
Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer Victoria Lamb
My husband, Ben, and I were Volunteers in the rural village of Mokuruanyane, South Africa from 2007-2009. I was a Community & HIV/AIDS Outreach Project Volunteer and Ben was an Education Volunteer.
My primary project was working with four women educators to develop Chrysalis Girls Club, an after-school girls empowerment program for the 75 7th grade girls in our village. In the 2008 school year, six weeks of our program were devoted to women’s reproductive health, sex education, and HIV/AIDS awareness & prevention. The girls designed an HIV/AIDS mural, and Ben worked with five male students from the secondary school to sketch the mural onto the wall of Abbotspoort Higher Primary School.
While I worked with the women educators to provide HIV/AIDS education, Ben supervised the girls in painting the mural. Ben took this photo in November 2008, at the end of our first successful year of Chrysalis Girls Club. The mural faces the main road that runs through Mokuruanyane.
Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer Susia Barr-Wilson
I was helping make hamburgers and fries with some other Volunteers for some of our Cameroonian friends while visiting my regional capital. I love children here and this young girl seemed amiable enough that I could approach her. She didn’t quite get the fist bump so it turned into a one finger and thus, voila, E.T. phone home!