In one of the oblasts (districts) on the outskirts of the city, the Akimat (mayor) invited parents and teachers to a meeting. He had identified key areas affecting students in the school in his area that he was concerned about, including HIV and AIDS, suicide, the excessive use of phones. He called the meeting “All that is important for your child”.
He invited our Operation Mercy life skills course facilitator to come and speak to the parents about HIV and AIDS. A common concern of the parents was: "If we go to the doctor (for an AIDS test) then they ask for a lot of money, so we don't go...” Our course facilitator was able to address this and explained to parents how they could get free testing for their children.
211 parents and 52 teachers attended the meeting. The Akimat tried to include many topics in the two-hour meeting.
Our Operation Mercy Life skills teacher was encouraged by the meeting. The teachers and parents had the opportunity to hear about risk of HIV and AIDS for their children and they were able to express their concerns.
“They (parents, teachers and government) believe that these issues exist, they aren’t ignoring them, and that is very good,” she said.