Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kicking off the Spring with My HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign

I apologize for getting behind in my blog.... but a few weekends ago, I took advantage of the nation-wide Saturday school to organize two consecutive HIV/AIDS education and awareness training seminars. We had Saturday school so that International Women's day (March 8th) could be turned into a 4-day weekend. These seminars marked the first part of my HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign project in my small town, funded by a PEPFAR grant - Presidents Executive Program for AIDS Relief.

The first training was for teaching professionals from the Lyceum (my school). We also invited teachers from the Gymnasium (the other school in our town), doctors from the local hospital, and social workers from the local kindergarten.
With the teachers who attended my training.
I invited my friend Alex to come to my school as a professional HIV/AIDS trainer who works at many different Peace Corps events, he has also worked for the Kharkiv office of the All-Ukrainian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS for the past 4 years. The training covered the biology, 4 stages, transmission, treatment, and stigma/discrimination concerning HIV and AIDS. I hope that my teachers enjoyed the training since Alex made it more active and interesting than normal school lessons :)

My counterpart presenting her group's drawing of how t-cells and b cells work in the body.
Our director and school psychologist debating which stage of HIV they have with a social worker.  
Everyone discussing which groups of people are guilty/not guilty .
The second training was for 10th and 11th form students. This training was pretty similar to the one for the teachers, except the students did a few more exercises that are meant for younger people. The goal of training 10th and 11th form students is that they will be able to train our 8th and 9th form students (instead of me or my teachers simply teaching the lesson). Now my school psychologist and I are preparing to finish up the second part of my project during our school's "practicum" week at the end of May by training the 8th and 9th formers with the help of our older students.

Drawing their interesting interpretation of the biology of HIV. 
Some of the girls presenting their biology poster. 
Organizing themselves into the 12 proper steps of how to use a condom correctly. 
Me and all the kids together with our certificates! 
 I think that my students enjoyed working with Alex very much, because it not only got them out of normal classes for school.... they got sweet professional certificates with their name printed on each of them (I created the template and we bought glossy photo paper to print them off in color) and we also prepared a beautifully Ukrainian sandwich lunch for free :D

Slicing up sausage and salo, Ukrainian style! 
A true Ukrainian sandwich lunch... with meat, cucumbers, apples, coffee, tea and cookies! 


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