As a way to provide support to AIDS patients, HIV positive and their family members, as well as to develop permanent preventive actions to fight AIDS by means of disseminating modern and scientific concepts for fighting the AIDS epidemy, COAPA has implemented in partnership with the Service of Specialized Assistance – SAE –, a project of Damage Reduction Workshops.
The workshops are set to be carried out monthly, in a single day, with a total of 8 hours. The topics are to be presented in a Power Point format; after each topic, young participants are divided into 5 groups, in which various activities are carried out to help participants assimilate
and memorize the acquired knowledge. Each group is supervised by 02 monitors who are previously selected amongst youngsters with leadership capacity, and AIDS patients who are members of the NGO.
With such methodology, we have been able to reach, so far, a population of 956 people. From a general standpoint, the prevention actions have been quite successful; they have been carried out every time funds and donations are acquired. We have progressed in developing partnerships
with other institutions; we are in constant evaluation to improve and diffuse knowledge to other sectors.
The permanent contact with youngsters and adolescents in the city – be it by providing assistance or preventive efforts – has demonstrated the need for the establishment of a proper and specific place to where idle, unmotivated and improperly oriented youngsters can come to make good use
of their time. Therefore, with the intention of combining efforts, sharing responsibilities and acquired knowledge, COAPA has decided to invest in a broader partnership, in order to search for ways to minimize the unfortunate reality of these people.
Implementing effective actions of primordial prevention help youngsters acquire critical judgment that enables them to opt for factors of protection instead of factors of risk in order to create a more equal society. Therefore, our goal is to establish a communitarian partnership with
the aim of developing integrated actions aimed at improving quality of life for AIDS patients, HIV positive, and youngsters in order to create an environment with orientation and follow-up, canalizing the creative and idle energy of this group of people that demonstrate serious social problems, and end up using drugs and resorting to criminal activities to escape the cruel reality of lack of jobs and social misery. Moreover, for the abovementioned reasons, there is urgent need for increasing the number of actions with greater emphasis on the unsafe and improper use
The present Project “Getting on With Life” is aimed at creating an autonomous place where actions to educate the community about STD⁄AIDS prevention, improve the quality of the lives of AIDS patients, HIV positive and their family members, as well as of young people who face unemployment and discrimination by an uninformed and biased community can be hosted and developed. It is aimed at enabling the civil society and its members to acquire freedom from
want and fear while exercising democratic principles. The project will enable this group of people at risk to engage in social work in broad partnership with governmental and nongovernmental institutions. Therefore, its main purpose is the creation of a space where ideals of citizenship are exercised in democratic and creative ways, providing the youth with the opportunity to exercise their citizenship, revindicate the necessary means for this aim, at the same time as they participate in the construction and implementation of the democratic process.
The project is divided into 4 separate, though interconnected and equally important, fronts: 1) Damage Reduction Workshops; 2) Labortherapy, which enables participants to work with handcrafts while interacting with other people, therefore, gaining the psychosocial support
necessary to cope with the trauma of unemployment and discrimination; 3) Income generating activity through the production and sales of disposable diapers; 4) Preventive Activities during Celebration days.
Below the specific needs of each front of the project “Getting on With Life” are listed
1) Damage Reduction Workshops: with the purpose of diffusing modern and scientific concepts about HIV/AIDS prevention. They are to be held monthly, in one day, each lasting 8 hours.
The lectures to be presented with Power Point will deal with: a) Growing and Physical Development; b) Female and Male reproductive system; c)STD/AIDS; d) Unsafe and improper use of drugs.
After each topic, youngsters shall be divided into 5 groups, in which various activities are carried out to help participants assimilate and memorize the acquired knowledge.
In order to improve an already existing and ongoing project, (COAPA receives a monthly contribution of about U$ 250 from the local government) as well as strengthen the permanent work of young leaders, selected AIDS patients, and HIV carriers, there is need for a small financial contribution. The idea is to provide “friendships” of U$25 for each short term trainer who participates in the preparation and conduction of the workshops.
As the project is aimed at being socio-educational with leadership, family income shall not be considered as qualification/disqualification for participation in the workshop; factors to be considered are availability and desire to become a “multiplier of health.”
In the first year of the project, 9 workshops will be organized, with 20 openings for youngsters and adolescents from 12 and 22 years of age to take part. We shall reserve 6 other openings to AIDS patients and HIV carriers in order to promote social interaction and improvement of self-esteem (total 26 openings). Only 10 participants will be selected as short term trainers per workshop to get the “friendship”. We also plan to create a theater group.
2) Labortherapy – to develop interest in social interaction as well as to exercise creativity in the confection of handcraft with paper maché.
The production shall be advertised and sold by members of the group in order to help fund future activities. Sixty-seven pieces of paper maché artcrafts have already been made. The handcraft is being exposed for sale in the local community.
3) Income generating activity: production and sale of disposable diapers. The machine to produce disposable diapers has already been donated to COAPA by the city government. However, there is need for purchasing two other machines to finalize adult and children diapers in order to increase production capacity; there is also need for funds to purchase raw material to produce such diapers.
The profit from the sale of the diapers shall be used to fund the other fronts of the project, as well as to compliment the limited family income of AIDS patients, HIV carriers, and their family members that work in the production under cooperative procution.
4) Preventive activities during celebration days: “World AIDS Day” (December 1st), Carnival, and Brazilian holidays.
Since the work of prevention will be permanent through “Damage Reduction Workshops”, motivating young people to participate actively in the combat of STD/HIV/AIDS and abusive use of drugs, it shall be of excellent social and pedagogical value. It will work as a connection between family and community, transferring the knowledge acquired it the program to the community, therefore, raising interest in safe sex with the use of condoms, all of which contributes to promoting greater effectiveness in the results. The main objective of the program is to result in a change of behavior, with reduction of contamination and incidence of unwanted
With the diffusion of modern and scientific concepts about the importance of safe sex as means of avoiding STD/AIDS transmission, valuing and motivating prevention, better quality of life and social relations shall be established, eliminating prejudice, valuing group activities, respect,
peaceful living and fraternity for the community. Moreover, the activities during “Celebration Dates” such as “December 1st – World AIDS Day” among others, in consonance with social movements for prevention, shall be a guarantee of actions following universal standards.
Social living in a working environment has been proved to improve self-esteem and shall promote improvement in the quality of life of AIDS patients, HIV positive, and their family members.
From what has been described, we submit the present matching grants project, in order to get funds to create a specific place with material resources for young leaders to act and motivate communitarian actions of disease prevention, cultural production such as theater activities and production of handcrafts, recycling paper for the production of artcrafts of paper maché, cards, folders, among other things.
Funding for this project is needed so that we can get autonomy to continue carrying on our work, respecting the partnerships and areas of work of each participating institution.
After funds have been fully granted and applied in temporarily paying for the rent, purchasing the material resources needed, as well as providing contribution for the short term trainers to be hired in the first 9 workshops, we expect the project to be self-sufficient after 1 year.