Our life skills project is partnering with schools, colleges and universities and equipping teachers and youth to make wise choices for their lives.
As part of this project, interactive seminars provide a way for students to learn about living with HIV and AIDS, its transmission and prevention. The students learn that it is a disease that can affect anyone, and they don't need to be afraid of those that have it.
After the seminar we ask the students to complete a follow up questionnaire to ascertain how much they have learnt. One of the questions in the questionnaire reads: “Is there something in your life that you will change after this lesson?”
Here are some of the students’ responses:
“I will take care of my health and maintain cleanliness.”
“I will ask my future spouse for an HIV certificate showing their HIV status”
“I will wait until my wedding to have sex”
“I will not be getting any piercings or tattoos”
Although some of these responses may sound idealistic, they indicate that the youth are taking what they have learnt in the seminar seriously, and that their capacity for making healthy choices in their lives has increased.
Our Life Skills trainer and psychologist says: “I have worked for Operation Mercy for many years teaching the youth a program on how they can save themselves from HIV and AIDS. Our goal is to help to make healthy, clever, intelligent youth throughout Kazakhstan. We say thank you to the organizers, school psychologist and the director for the opportunity to equip their students.”
Working in partnership with local education institutions, more than 2,000 students go through various parts of the life skills program each year.