“Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And venture belongs to the adventurous.” -Navjot Singh Sidhu
It is the eleventh hour. In just a few days, the man behind the mission – our founder – Hendrikus Bervoets will embark on a much awaited new venture. On June 26 th , Art for AIDS International will pilot a large-scale initiative called Train the Teachers Project in Lesotho, Swaziland, and Botswana. We could not be more excited!
Unfortunately, these three countries have the highest prevalence of HIV and AIDS worldwide. The AIDS epidemic ravaged the countries’ populations, created serious public health concerns, and severely reduced average life expectancy and quality of life in these nations. Contributing to the problem is the stigma and taboo associated with the disease. This is why our Train the Teachers Project focuses on educating and empowering the youth with facts about risk, prevention, and social justice. Our aim is to arm these young students with the knowledge and means to protect themselves, as well as to dispel existing myths about HIV and AIDS.
Working with 30 teachers at a time, Hendrikus will teach educators to identify cultural beliefs and practices that may be propagating the spread of HIV. Moreover, teachers will also be taught how to create open lines of communication with their students to help them in times of need and to encourage them to confide in friends and family. Through art, we aim to give students a therapeutic outlet and a means to channel their thoughts and feelings in a healthy and creative way.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
Most importantly, we would like to thank our corporate and private donors as well as the Elementary Teachers’ Federation, Humanity Fund, and Education International. Without their generous contributions and helpful support, this project would not be actualized. Owing to their philanthropic donations, we are one step closer to realizing our mission: to raise funds and awareness for women and children affected by HIV and AIDS as well as to encourage young people to play an active and creative role in the global AIDS response through art.
We are extremely grateful to our incredible donors who made this project a reality. Check back in with us in mid-July to learn all about Hendrikus’ trip! We are confident that the Train the Teachers Project will be a huge success!