Preview of Collages by Teachers in South Africa










What a privilege to be able to work with teachers in Hoedspruit, sharing ideas about how to communicate effective with young people regarding HIV and AIDS but also how they view the world and their place in it.  We are so excited about how many learners will be touched by these empowered teachers in their own communities and beyond.



Here is a preview of the artwork created during the workshop.  We look forward to a proper exhibit to celebrate this ongoing project with dedicated teachers.




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Large High School Assembly



Art for AIDS International is currently working in Hoedspruit, South Africa.  An assembly of between 1600 and 1700 people gave our Executive Director, Hendrikus Bervoets, an exciting opportunity to share thoughts about our Train the Teachers Program. already begun in four countries and how he sees it creating positive change for young people in highly HIV-affected areas of the world.  Shobianya2



Bervoets went on to conduct workshops with teachers from the community with the intention of equipping them with tools to have meaningful, effective conversations with their learners for years to come.  We look forward to sharing the resulting collages with you soon.

Students Enjoy Workshops in London, Canada


Today was the final day of a series of workshop sessions in London, Canada at Lester B. Pearson School for the Arts.  Thanks to teacher Jacquie DePace for arranging this for a fifth year in a row.  It is a pleasure to return and work with the enthusiastic group at this school which promotes creativity in upper elementary aged students.

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We look forward to sharing the amazing art work created by these students in an exhibit at our One London Place gallery very soon.  But most of all we look forward to the brave and responsible actions and choices they will make as they grow into young adults and leaders in our community and beyond.



The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women


The United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, held annually on November 25 th , will mark an important day for human rights. Since 1999, this day has contributed to raising awareness for the elimination of violence against women. The UN considers the following as acts of violence against women femicide, early marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, cyberviolence, human trafficking, and slavery. Violence against women doesn’t only affect individual victims, it affects society at large. Families, economies, health care systems, environmental sustainability, and the fight against HIV/AIDS, are negatively impacted as a result of the continuation of violence against women (

November 25th marks not only the Day for The Elimination of Violence Against Women, but also, the beginning of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism for Gender-Based Violence. Ending on December 10th , Human Rights Day, these days are intended to raise awareness, and inspire global, social political and individual change. By linking the Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women with Human Rights Day, the UN hopes to emphasize that violence against women is not just a women’s rights issues – it’s a human rights violation.


The UN’s efforts to end violence against women doesn’t end with November 25th , and the 16 Days of Activism. The UN’s Secretary General’s UNiTE Campaign to End Violence Against Women’s 2016 campaign, “Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence Against Women” will take place during the 16 Days of Activism. It is an initiative intended to raise funds for the resources needed for global action and prevention efforts. More importantly, the campaign as recently declared the 25 th of every month as “Orange Day”, with the colour symbolizing a “brighter future without violence” (

On October 25, 2016, the most recent Orange Day, over 70 countries world wide held events to raise awareness for this cause. Some of the world’s most significant landmarks were lit-up in orange in support for this campaign. By declaring a day of each month as a day to recognize the need for the elimination of violence against women, the UN is reminding the world that we can’t confine social justice and human rights issues to simply one day a year.


Heart-warming Return to Swaziland

SNAT member teachers holding the limited edition prints of their art work.

Art for AIDS International workshop facilitator Hendrikus Bervoets had a happy reunion this week as he met with the teachers from Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT).  It was exciting to talk with them about the impact of the first workshop in July of 2016 and what they have been doing since then.

The group were able to spend more time learning about how to use the art workshop model as a way of creating open and worthwhile discussions with young people in their classrooms and in their communities.  Many issues related to HIV and AIDS were shared during this second session of training.

It was a very valuable and productive time and the continuation of a very special relationship.  We wish these teachers much success with their work going forward.


New Exhibit at The Apartheid Museum

It is with great pleasure that we share some very exciting news with you.  Art for AIDS International has been invited to exhibit at The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The Apartheid Museum opened in 2001 and is acknowledged as the pre-eminent museum in the world dealing with 20th century South Africa, at the heart of which is the apartheid story.  This is not the first exhibit of ours to be held in this location but each time we appreciate the very special opportunity to share our work.
The exhibit will include the art work created by teachers from Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT), Botswana Teachers' Union (BTU), and Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) who participated in our Train the Teachers Program pilot projects in June and July of 2016.
It will be an honour for our Executive Director, Hendrikus Bervoets, to be there in person soon after the proposed installation date for the exhibit in November 2016, as this date coincides with his follow up trip to South Africa to continue the work with all three mentioned teachers' unions and to begin working with South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU).
We are grateful to Education International and the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) for their financial support of the Train the Teachers Program to date.  There is much more important work to do and we hope that partners will continue to join us in providing teachers in the most highly HIV and AIDS affected areas in the world with a method of having meaningful and appropriate conversations with their learners (students).  By equipping the teachers, we believe we can reach hundreds of thousands of young people.

Powerful Responses from Teachers




"Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”


Well aware of this incredible influence that teachers have through the youth of their communities, Art for AIDS International developed the Train the Teachers Program.  Pilot projects were held in late June and early July of 2016 in Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland, the three most HIV and AIDS affected countries in the world.  The response has been incredible.  Teacher participants expressed the value of learning to share their own stories first, in order to gain the confidence to explore issues comfortably with their students.

"The workshop was one that will ever linger in my mind as it was one of the most captivating, motivating, informative and intriguing ones.  It was so empowering to hear the sharing of life experiences and most wonderful to learn the making of collages.  Many lessons on life skills were shared which will be used to teach and share with learners."

"I am a rape victim from Swaziland.  I live with HIV and have been afraid to talk about it.  It was in this workshop that I gained the courage to declare my status.  I want to talk about this more and more.  I am a teacher and would love to tell other teachers, pupils and even the head teachers to know there is life even the head teachers to know there is life even if you're HIV positive.  I have also discovered that if one that if one is HIV positive he/she needs an ear to listen to his/her story."



Teachers were also given instruction on how to create beautiful collages and equipped with the skills to bring out creativity from their students as well.

We are grateful to Education International and ETFO (Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario) through their Humanity Fund for the financial support to begin this work.  There is still so much to do.  We see how powerfully teachers can reach their students and how much they want this type of workshop in order to begin using this technique in their classes.  Please consider a contribution to our Train the Teachers Project.



Train the Teachers Program Begins




“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.

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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.

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“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!


Spring Tour of Thunder Bay Schools

This week, Art for AIDS International has been welcomed as a guest in four art classrooms with Lakehead Schools in Thunder Bay, Canada.  On Tuesday morning we met the students at Hammerskjold Collegiate & Vocational Institute (high school).  After sharing some stories and talking a bit about the ways that art can have social impact, students were left to think about these new thoughts before returning on Wednesday to create some original art work together.


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Also on Tuesday and Wednesday, we spent some time with students at Superior Collegiate & Vocational Institute (high school).  It was a pleasure to be a part of their Native Art and Craft Programme.  Art for AIDS International truly appreciates the opportunity to reach engage young minds at such an important stage of life.

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Half of the day on Thursday and Friday found us at Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate & Vocational Institute(high school).  Students had a lot of fun playing with finger paints.  We look forward to showing you the results of their creative play very soon.

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Our final stop this week was at Westgate Collegiate & Vocational Institute (high school).  We hope that the new ideas that we all shared with each other will make a meaningful impact on each one of the students involved in the workshop.  Many thanks to Jason Pilot and the art teachers at Lakehead Schools for welcoming us back this year.

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Puledi High School in Acornhoek, South Africa

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"Visualize a long dirt road with lots of potholes and an incredible amount dust"... Founder of Art for AIDS International, Hendrikus Bervoets took an exciting trip to Puledi High School in Acornhoek, South Africa, where he was greeted by a wonderful group of students. South Africa is a country rich in history, diversity, and culture. Despite many of these amazing attributes HIV infection is a major health concern within the country. In 2014, the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS estimated that 6,800,000 South Africans were living with HIV. Art for AIDS International has devoted its time in spreading awareness of the risks and high prevalence rates of HIV and AIDS. This of course has led the organization to target youth awareness. Youths are future leaders and innovators of the world, their knowledge and support is of the utmost importance. Art for AIDS Internatioanl focuses specifically on offering young students a chance to take part in the workshops so they can get a better understanding of these issues. Sadly, HIV stigmatization in South Africa still exists, causing marginalization and discrimination. The stigma only worsens HIV response time, and increases the likeliness of one to get it. But through these programme workshops, advocacy for empowerment can allow for future generations to take action.

As a practising artist, Hendrikus was able to share his passion for art and social justice issues with the students as he has done for many years with young people around the world but especially in African nations most seriously affected by the AIDS pandemic. Not only do we as members of Art for AIDS International gain a sense of fulfillment from these workshops, but so do all who participate. Through the workshop, students had the opportunity to express their life experiences in a therapeutic manner, art. Despite many of the same workshops being held in different parts of the region, each one has a different feel, making no two experiences the same! The workshops allow for all participants to gain a new sense of creativity and awareness of HIV and AIDS, while also having the opportunity to learn about the different stories each of these remarkable students carry.

Thank you to the school and everyone who participated in this amazing workshop. We hope to visit again!

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