Shobianya High School

It was a pleasure today to work with students of Shobianya High School.  Great to see their smiles as they get started creating new masterpieces.




The results speak for themselves.  These beautiful pieces will be available for purchase in a few weeks in our online store.



The first collage of the workshop.  It's a keeper!  Shobianya6


Art for AIDS International would like to thank Wendy for organizing this workshop and the teacher, Walter.




Snapshots of South Africa

NoAnimalsSept3This photo was taken by our Art for AIDS International workshop facilitator on September 3, 2015.  No animals at this watering hole.

RiverSept3The riverbed was dry after three months of no rain. But the very next day....

A big difference.  But one day of rain will not make the river flow.  What a privilege to experience the nature and setting of this part of our world.

Winning Smiles at Buffelshoek Trust High School.

Buffelshoek Trust17


Buffelshoek Trust High School.  The tables are ready and here come the students for their workshop...

They learn about art from around the world.

Buffelshoek Trust13Spiritual dancing together.

More instructions on how to create collages.

Buffelshoek Trust9


And sharing the results of their efforts.

The workshop was a great success, as you can see from these faces.

Great work, everyone!






Workshops at the Ekurhuleni orphanage in Acornhoek, South Africa.



This month Art for AIDS International's facilitator is in South Africa, conducting workshops with young people at schools and orphanages.  We look forward to sharing their art work with you later in September.  It is always a pleasure to encourage and inspire one another through what we do.

In response to the question:  "How many of you fear becoming HIV positive?"



Isn't this what it is all about?

Honest, hope-filled discussions follow and we believe that minds are opened to new possibilities.

This was an amazing beginning to a two-week adventure here in South Africa.  Thank you for your support of this work.


Celebrating 15 Years of Art for AIDS International

15years_smallAs we prepare to celebrate our fifteenth anniversary in September, Art for AIDS International is pleased to announce an upcoming retrospective exhibit at Satellite Project Space in London, Ontario.

This exhibit will showcase some of the best images that have been created by youth from around the world during our student workshops.

Our goal with these workshops is to educate people about HIV and AIDS and encourage them to play an active and creative role. While it was not always easy, our dedication to engaging and educating people to get creative over the past fifteen years represents our commitment to the global AIDS response.

We would like to thank everyone that has been a part of our organization for the past fifteen years. Almost on a daily basis we receive heartening endorsements from those that we have worked with about what we do.

To honour the inspiring students we have had the pleasure of working with, we are very pleased to showcase a reflective exhibit featuring some of the most powerful pieces of art work produced during our past workshops since 2001.

Exhibit viewings will run Monday through Friday from 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm for the entire month of August.

Satellite Project Space is located at 121 Dundas Street, London, Ontario.

Gallery View


Collage by the author
Collage by the author

This post was written by Len Caballes, volunteer.

Like a smile, positivity is infectious and often yields tremendous benefits to those that employ it effectively.  A positive self-image and knowing the very best things about one’s persona allows for healthy introspection. Think of this realization as a small drop in a pond – after a while, the ripples make their way to the rest of the space with long-lasting effects.

Art for AIDS International's Co-Founder and Executive Director, Hendrikus Bervoets, speaks of high self-esteem as a conduit to effect not only one’s daily interactions, but those of others as well – fostering positive engagements (be it personal or professional) is a gift that keeps on giving.

From a personal standpoint, a positive self-image affords people a level of respect towards each other that is sadly absent in today’s digital world. Interactions are cold and often times distant in nature – the art of effective conversations suffers from a lack of respect and connection between people.

In the corporate space, interactions are more polished but equally cold. Professional language in our Western culture is often viewed as uninviting or impolite in non-Western countries. If employees are a company’s greatest assets, what’s to say about an employee that has a negative self-image? Would you want to engage an employee that isn’t fully invested in the company? Furthermore, would you be inclined to do business with a company that engages in one-sided commerce?

An employee that is fully engaged and positively invested in their work demonstrates this through their interactions with colleagues, and potential clients alike. From my experience in the corporate world, businesses want to partner with organizations that are engaged with the work that they do – it shows a level of care and attention that again, is missing in today’s corporate arena.

I have written about my workshop experiences and lauded its positive benefits. If one was to apply that to the corporate space, an organization would see tremendous returns in a team building exercise with the help of Art for AIDS International. If you’re curious about how we can help, I would encourage you to visit our website or reach out to Hendrikus Bervoets directly.



Collage by the author
Collage by the author

This post was written by Len Caballes, volunteer.

Freedom, whether it is from persecution or internal conflict is a concept that is surprisingly foreign to people today. When one thinks of the word, one may gravitate to freedom borne out of military conflict or even different forms of persecution.


In this case, I am writing about freedom from the perspective of someone getting a glimpse of freedom from internal conflict. I volunteer for Art for AIDS International, an organization that hosts art workshops, raises awareness about the AIDS epidemic, and encourages the younger generation to express their inner creativity on the way to raising our global consciousness about the persistence of the AIDS epidemic.


This piece is inspired by my experience at one of the workshops that Art for AIDS International was kind enough to provide to its volunteers. The time I got to spend getting to know its founder, Hendrikus Bervoets was profoundly enlightening and liberating.


Our workshop centred around collage art and Hendrikus talked us through the process and made the experience as effortless as possible. His rule for the day was to not ‘overthink’ the process – rather, just let the moment dictate what story our piece would be about.


This simple rule for me was a very important element in creating my piece. To use art (whatever form it may be) as the medium for expression is a powerful form of therapy. Hendrikus in fact encouraged us start from ‘where we were’ at that very moment of the day – instead of being constrained by rules, he moved away from that convention. The US National Library of Medicine and The National Institutes of Health mentioned in their site that, “Art as a language of therapy, combined with verbal dialogue uses all our capacities to find a more successful resolution to our difficulties”.


I want to stress that Art for AIDS International does not provide any sort of therapy, but rather the experiences during the workshops provide an avenue for expression – an experience that is both empowering and liberating for any individual. This simple slice of freedom had a tremendous effect on my overall mindset for that day – even as I write this and recollect my experience I am brought back to that feeling of empowerment and liberation when one is afforded the choice to freely express themselves.


Even if you’re not artistically inclined, but are driven to donate time to this worthy cause, I highly encourage you to partake in one of the organization’s workshops or contribute to its online presence. Often, we forget that freedom comes in many forms – the small respite my experience provided me did wonders for my mental mindset, I’m quite confident that it will do the same for you.

Measuring Our Impact at Art for AIDS International

158-20-Malatsi JostinoThis article was written by long time valued volunteer Brittany Stares



If the impact of Art for AIDS International was measured only in terms of beautiful artwork produced, there would be no question that the organization is successful. Its head office and gallery are constantly filled with stunning limited edition prints, rotated on a regular basis, showcasing the powerful creativity from students even as young as twelve years of age.


The organization's work, however, goes far beyond art. In addition to raising funds for initiatives providing care for women and children affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa, Art for AIDS International has, for fifteen years, used unique collage-making workshops to: educate young people about HIV, AIDS and other social issues, boost self-esteem, and connect students to the transformative power of creativity and self-expression. Each workshop delivers important, potentially life-saving information about HIV and AIDS.


It can be difficult to assess the impact of this information. Sometimes, the communities we visit lack the resources or facilities to measure the local prevalence of HIV and AIDS. More often, widespread stigma against HIV-infected individuals, and the fear of being stigmatized, pose the greatest barrier to testing. As such, we often cannot see if rates of testing, infection or even treatment change after an Art for AIDS workshop.


One way we gauge our impact is with evaluation forms, completed by each workshop participant. Consistently, we are rated 90 and above out of 100. For many younger participants, their enthusiasm is directed towards the art portion of the workshop. While it is lovely to nurture the dreams of aspiring artists, the real hope – at least for me, as a volunteer – comes from reading the words of students, usually a little older, who have absorbed the information about HIV, AIDS and self-esteem, and who are committed to using this information to help themselves and others. From participant reviews of workshops in South Africa in March 2015, for instance: “[I learned that] I should get tested each and every month,” “I will now speak up and tell the community about HIV and AIDS,” “This workshop taught me something that I will never forget in my life,” and “With this workshop we can build a bright future for ourselves as youngsters and we can be a good example in our homes and community.”


This is positive enough, tremendously so. But another indicator of our impact – a sign that our work resonates long after the fun and novelty of collage-making wears off – comes from the many young people who reach out to us from all corners of the globe after participating in one of our workshops. Here is a segment of an email received by Art for AIDS International Director Hendrikus Bervoets from one such student:


“Dear Mr. Hendrikus,
... I just want to say thank you so much for your fantastic workshop today on collage[-making]. I learned a lot from you and how interesting collages can be if you combine imagination with passion...


Your ideas, views of life and ideals have greatly touched me and I just want you to know that I share the same ideals and views as you about self respect, confidence, passion, kindness and life. You make me want to strengthen all these views, be more independent about my decisions and be a better person like yourself.

... So thank you again for stepping into my life and becoming an inspiration to me. You are truly a unique individual that has inspired this young mind. I hope to become a splendid and exceptional individual like you and accomplish as much as you have in my life since it has always been a dream of mine to help people.”


From another email, this one nearly a year after the workshop was conducted:


“...I'm glad to tell you that I have successfully completed my high school and AS level I was doing last year. Since I'm free for a few months now, I would like to dedicate my time to helping anyone I can, so you, your incredible efforts, story and Art for AIDS came to mind.


I am still very inspired by you and what you do, even though we only met once for a few hours. Thank you again for coming to my school...”


We know we cannot quantify some aspects of our impact at Art for AIDS International. Sometimes, though, the surest signs of success come from things you can't quantify at all.


Listening intently to the presentation.
Listening intently to the presentation.

As seen in London Free Press May 2015

ON THE CANVAS: South African Secondary School Workshop Exhibit, presented in partnership between Art for AIDS International and University of Johannesburg’s Department of Community Engagement
Artwork sales assist AIDS education

By Joe Belanger, The London Free Press
Monday, May 4, 2015 7:17:40 EDT PM
This work by South African secondary school student Siyanda Kondleka is part of a new exhibition opening in the gallery of Art for AIDS International at One London Place Friday and continuing until May 27.
This work by South African secondary school student Siyanda Kondleka is part of a new exhibition opening in the gallery of Art for AIDS International at One London Place Friday and continuing until May 27.

A London-based aid agency is hosting a new art exhibition of works by South African secondary school students.

Arts for AIDS International’s Hendrikus Bervoets was in South Africa recently to lead an art workshop in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg’s department of community engagement and returned with works that will be sold to help fund the organization’s mandate of educating people about HIV and AIDS.

“This gallery displays the talent of various secondary students, representing works that have been created in a supportive environment as a way for students to contribute, share and express their own personal stories with others in their own communities and beyond,” said Bervoets.

The works are being sold — $30 for unframed works, $80 framed — as a fundraiser for the London-based organization to increase awareness about AIDS.

Art for AIDS International has worked with more than 15,000 young people in 10 countries since 2001 with the goal of educating people about HIV and AIDS through art.

Funds are raised by hosting workshops and selling prints, which allows the organization to continue reaching out to young people around the world.

Art for AIDS International also supports “select initiatives” that6 provide care and support directly to women and children affected by HIV and AIDS in some of the communities hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa.

- - -


What: South African Secondary School Workshop Exhibit, presented in partnership between Art for AIDS International and University of Johannesburg’s Department of Community Engagement.

Where: One London Place, 2nd floor gallery, 255 Queens Ave.

When: Friday through May 27.

A Snapshot of HIV and AIDS on Saint Martin

This post was written by Brittany Stares, volunteer

Last month, while most of Canada was experiencing record cold temperatures, Art for AIDS International Director Hendrikus Bervoets travelled to sunny Saint Martin to conduct the organization's first workshop in the Caribbean. Popular image of the Caribbean runs to warm weather, sand and palm trees, but the region also has the second-highest rate of HIV prevalence in the world, behind only sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 1% of the Caribbean's adult population is living with HIV/AIDS (contrast this with 0.2-0.4% in Canada ), though the number of new infections is on the decline. Poverty, gender inequality and high levels of migration between islands have all contributed to the disease's hold in the region.

A small island in the northeast corner of the Caribbean, Saint Martin has not escaped the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Divided into the Dutch constituent country of Sint Maarten and the French Collectivity of Saint Martin with a total population of 77,000, the island is thought to have “moderate to high” risk for HIV transmission, due in part to its heavy reliance on tourism and high transient population. In 2011, 670 persons were known to be living with HIV/AIDS and under care on the island, though troublingly, this figure is thought to represent only 1/3 of the infected population . Under-registration and under-diagnosis, particularly on the Dutch side of the island, constitute a major challenge in tackling the disease locally.

Art for AIDS International was hosted by the Sint Maarten AIDS Foundation, the island's oldest organization with a focus on HIV/AIDS. Established in 1990, the Sint Maarten AIDS Foundation describes itself as “seek[ing] to prevent the transmission of HIV and other STIs and reduce their negative impact, including stigma and discrimination, while providing compassionate care, practical support services and advocating on behalf of those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS” on the island. Members of the Sint Maarten AIDS Foundation participated in the collage-making workshop, giving aid workers the chance to experience firsthand the power of art and self-esteem building in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This also allows the organizations to share knowledge and build future opportunities to collaborate.

Art produced at this workshop was displayed and sold at the Art for AIDS International gallery in London, Ontario and is still available for purchase in our online shop.