1. The balsam to heal the deep wounds and to stop self discrimination.

Summary of story
"Most of the times, HIV is just the excuse we find to justify why we do not love ourselves and why others might not love us. But HIV can also be a way to find the strengths you have to do things for others (and for yourself). Having HIV highlighted some of the strenghts I had and which I had never been aware of before, so after recognizing those strengths I stopped thinking that somebody could discriminate me because of HIV."
"Look for the strengths around you, tell them what you appreciate in them, let them know in which ways they are special... This is the first balsam to start healing the deep wounds
Principle for action: 
When we look for strengths around us, when we appreciate people, when we let them know that they are special, then we begin to heal the deep wounds that come from lack of self-esteem and we begin to stop discrimination.

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2. What can we offer Belgium?

Summary of story
Their real concern isn't really HIV/AIDS. It is discrimination in the surrounding community. "We want to do something to change the situation. We want to feel comfortable in this community. First of all, we need to change the image that we have about the community and then perhaps we can change the images that the community has of us. We need to show that we also have strengths. We have to recognise that a chain is as strong as its weakest link.
They decided to put on a piece of theatre and invite the community. People would see that they too were human beings and that they could do good things. The facilitators also wanted to go into schools so that they could share their experiences with young people.

Principle for action: 
When we change the image that we have of society, then we can change the image that society has of us.


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3. Between two cultures

Summary of story
My view of myself was so bad and I felt that I was responsible for my situation that I placed the blame on my community. I blamed my mother, I blamed my friends and I blamed the men of my community because I thought that they were the cause of my suffering. I was giving them the power to run my life. And by following my own path I came to understand that I had the responsibility to keep the power for myself.

Principle for action: 
When I accept myself, I begin to accept others and I begin to see the positive aspects of the world around me.

For the full story go to:  http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/entre-deux-cultures

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4. Bani chooses life.

Summary of story
When Bani found that she was HIV positive she was so upset, she felt shame, she could not bear the pain. She thought that the society will make her a laughing stock as there is social discrimination, social stigma for the positive people. So she dare not face the society and the community.
At the seminar, I told the villagers, "There is no difference between positive and negative people. When you know you act. Because positive can also live 80 years if positive people can take care of his or her health, negative can also live 80 years." After the seminar was over she called me to her house. There she confessed about her plan for committing suicide. I consoled her and give more knowledge about ACP. How she can take care of her health and she will get facilities. She was comfortable and lived very happily . Now she has become one of the voluntary workers at her village.

Principle for action
When you see yourself as the same as others, you will be able to take action.

A story from Uncle Houlai, a village headmaster from Molvum village in Northeast India.It was told to Rituu

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5. Liberating Themba

Summary of story
Themba knows all too well that authenticity – being true to yourself, especially when you’re different from everyone else – comes at a high price. Despite his seemingly-confident, outgoing personality, he has had to struggle to overcome low self-esteem and to come to terms with his sexuality in a community where he was often teased about the tone of his voice and his manner of speaking, and excluded because of his gestures and mannerisms.
But Africa Unite has offered Themba an oasis in the midst of a wilderness – a place of sanctuary – and he has found here, over a period of several years, a place of acceptance and belonging. Over time, children have learned about respect and inclusion and compassion for others, and their attitudes towards other people who seem different – like Themba – have changed.
“I love to be here at the centre," says Themba. "I can’t wait to come after school, and I never want to leave when the activities are over at the end of each day, My favourite activity is the dance group I’m a part of – it really helps me express myself, and gives me a way to perform for my community."
"Look for the strengths around you, tell them what you appreciate in them, let them know in which ways they are special... This is the first balsam to start healing the deep wounds of lack of self-esteem and then to stop self discrimination.

Principle for action: 
When people are given the chance to do the things they love, they are accepted by themselves and by the community. 

This story was told by Ricardo Walters

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6. Lakshamma is welcomed back

Summary of story
Lakshmamma, a widow with two children was shunned by all the people in her village because of her HIV status. The villagers not only isolated her, but also actively discouraged anyone from supporting her or even talking to her. When one of Samraksha team visited her house, Lakshmamma’s neighbor stopped her and asked her what she was doing there. This opened up an opportunity to discuss with the neighbor about Lakshmamma’s condition.
The very next day there was a cradle ceremony in the neighbor’s house to which they invited Lakshmamma and her children. This encouraged Lakshmamma to come forward and share her story with the community. She spoke of how overjoyed she was to receive the invitation to a function in the neighboring house. Lakshmamma’s story inspired the community enormously, and they welcomed her back into the community.

Principle for action: 
With just one act of acceptance, we can make a difference. 

This story was told by Divya Sarma

For the full story go to: http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/some-inspiring-stories-of

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7. There are millions of HIV positive people, not just me.

Summary of story
One lady affected from Svay Rieng province in Cambodia had been infected with HIV/ AIDS since 1999. She did not know about her status until 2002 and than she divorced her husband.
Our volunteers tried to persuade her to access health services and provide assistance several times but she rejected these suggestions because of stigma and discrimination within her community. For example, her children were not allowed to play with her neighbours' children.
Then in July 2005 we met her again and she understood the purpose of the Red Cross work. She volunteered to join with positive network and became Red Cross Volunteer.
As Red Cross Volunteer she has been trained on how to work closely with community. She is an active speaker in community on education and public aw She became a proud person to talk in her village and in public places. She started to join the provincial positive network, in meetings and in national conferences. Now she has her own motorbike, better living condition and can work within the own community. Currently she accepts her husband back and living with happiness together. The last 2 years, she said: in the world, it’s not only me; there are millions of positive people.

Principle for action: 
With one action, we can begin to transform how people see themselves.

This story was told by Kith Marady

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8. We can learn from our mistakes

Summary of story
One of Basappa’s friends tested positive for HIV. After this became known in the community, Basappa gradually started moving away from his friend. He did not want to be involved with him in any way. When Basappa's friend was admitted in hospital, he repeatedly sent word to Basappa that he wanted to talk to him, but he was hesitant to go. He was scared of catching the illness from his friend, and was also scared that just by being seen in the hospital with him, people would think he himself had HIV. So he never visited till his friend passed away.
Basappa deeply regrets his behavior now. According to him, “I had made a big mistake. Now I will not do the same. There are three people living with HIV here, I go talk to them, I sit with them. I help them.” Basappa is an active volunteer who supports the different affected people, specially to reach services.

Principle for action: 
When we regret an action, we may be encouraged to reach out and to make a difference in people's lives.

This story was told by Divya Sarma

For the full story go to:  http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/some-inspiring-stories-of

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9. How can we discriminate between ourselves, when you have shown us that we are your equals?.

Summary of story
We are visiting the community of Ruhuha in Rwanda, near the border with Burundi. We come from the six GLIA countries and Europe. In the meeting room, we refuse to sit at the high table, and we mix with people who welcome us.
Bosco who facilitates the exchanges, asks us to turn to our neighbours and give each other a hug. We embark on a series of joyful greetings!
A lady from the community will say at the end: "By your attitude, you put an end to discrimination in our community. How can we discriminate between ourselves, when you have shown us that we are your equals?​​"

Principle for action: 
When we show others that they are equal to us, they are challenged to accept each other as equals.

The story was told by Jean-Louis Lamboray

For the full story go to: http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/inclusion-montrons-lexemple

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10. Songs for change

Summary of story
Songs are powerful tools to inspire change in people. Samraksha teams and the communities have composed and popularized many songs. There are songs that challenge stigma, promote positive living and promote bonding among and across communities.
One song speaks the story of a HIV affected child, who has been abandoned by her uncle and aunt. The song traces her life through the phase when she was abandoned and her loneliness, to her eventual joy when her uncle accepts her back. After hearing this song, Ramappa thought about his own niece, orphaned due to HIV. He had asked his parents to keep her in the village, since he did not want her living with his family. This was affecting her education. Ramappa was so moved by the song that he asked his parents to send his niece to him, and agreed to look after her.
This is just one instances. More than any other material, songs speak powerfully to the people and inspire attitude changes.
Principle for action: 
Songs can move us and they can also move us to take action.

This story was told by Bheri Marappa Rangappa

For the full story go to: http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/songs-for-change

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11. Personal experience can inspire change

Summary of story
During a group education session, one positive woman shared that her elder son had started acting in a very discriminatory way towards her. He kept complaining that her illness had stigmatized him, and he felt ashamed of himself when he went to work, and he had to listen to the comments of his co-workers.
On hearing this, another participant in the group volunteered to help. He was a school teacher and himself positive. He sought out and spoke to the son, and shared his own story. He spoke about how he himself had to listen to so many comments about his status, but he had learnt to overcome them, and sometimes even educate other people using his own example. Many people, near and dear ones had hurt him, why was the son hurting his own mother.
This sharing of a personal story inspired change in the son, who is now very supportive to his mother.

Principle for action: 
When we share our personal experience, we can move people to change.

This story was told by Murari Rao of Samraksha, India

For the full story go to: http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/personal-sharing-inspiring

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12. Jalukie village scores high on inclusion.

Summary of story
Dimapur ACP facilitation team led by Joe Ngamkhuchung of People in Need Foundation, had a surprise waiting for them, if they had any plan to encourage the village. “Healthy and HIV free community “ was the community dream. The community was well aware of HIV. The visiting team listened with joy and amazement learning what was happening in the community.
“We have organized Voluntary Blood test for the village with doctors! We want to know our status and help each other' was the reason behind the Voluntary blood test.
There were people known to be living with the virus in the village. The question was how to prevent further infection and care for the infected. “There is no question of throwing them out, we want to know how to care for them and not get infected ourselves.”

Principle for action: 
When we show that we care, people will know that they are cared for.

The story was told by Fr. Joe Ngamkhuchung to Rituu

For the full story go to: http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/jalukie-village-scores-high-on

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13. The freedom to work without the fear of being fired

Summary of story
One of the workers of a bottling company at Surabaya was detected as HIV positive two years ago. Soon after the case detected a briefing for executives was initiated by NGO, Mulia Abadi Foundation in collaboration with human and resource development of that company. During the briefing, basic information of HIV/AIDS, the ILO code, national as well as regional regulation regarding HIV/AIDS had been discussed.
The result of the briefing was to set up company's policy and to develop an HIV/AIDS program in workplace. To implement the policy, a training of the company's core team was conducted. This team made a one year plan of action which consists of basic information about HIV/AIDS by using several kinds of media such are posters, leaflet, face to face information, and testimony of PHA in from of groups of worker as well as peer educator training. As a result of those activities, the PHA still can work in that company until now
Principle for action: 
As an employer, if we make it clear that people living with HIV are a valuable resource, a major worry will be removed from their lives.

This story was told by Andryansyah Arifin

For the full story go to: http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/pha-can-work-in-company?xg_source=activity

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14. "Nobody ever comes to speak to us.".

Summary of story
Having listened to the young women and heard them proudly repeating what they had learned we noticed some young men hanging around and so we asked if we could talk to them. We gathered together about 30 young men in a room and listened to what they had to say. Their first comment was "Nobody ever comes to speak to us." So when we asked "Don't you think you may have something to do with this issue?" they certainly had lots to say, and though none of them had been with sex workers, they knew people who had.
Having spoken to both of those groups we also spoke with the Elders of the village to get their perspective. We asked whether we could assemble everybody together into the Village Hall during the afternoon. Culturally this did not normally happen, especially to discuss such a sensitive topic, but they agreed.
Everyone sat on the floor of the Village Hall in mixed groups and they had a great conversation airing different perspectives of what the real issues were and the possible responses.

Principle for action: 
It is important to include everyone affected, not just the vulnerable group, to define the appropriate response.

This story was told by Geoff Parcell.

For the full story go to: http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/nobody-ever-comes-to-speak-to-us

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