December 1, 2014
By Simon Chambers
December 1 marks World AIDS Day, a day when we stop to reflect on the 32 years this disease has been a stark and deadly part of our world. PWRDF works with partners in El Salvador, Burundi, Mozambique, Tanzania, India and South Africa in providing health care, medicines, economic opportunities, food security, and accompaniment to people living with HIV and AIDS.
The Committee Against AIDS (CoCoSI), a PWRDF partner in El Salvador, has carried out crucial AIDS education, advocacy and accompaniment work in rural communities. CoCoSI is an organization made up of and run by youth and young adults. In 2010 CoCoSI was one of 25 community-based groups from around the world involved in education, prevention and advocacy to receive international recognition through a Red Ribbon Award from the United Nations HIV and AIDS Program.
CoCoSi sent the following message to PWRDF, which was shared at a World AIDS Day worship held in the chapel at Church House on November 27, 2014:
CoCoSI and PWRDF have contributed to improving living conditions for more than 70 persons living with HIV, who are also from the most impoverished and marginalized populations in rural El Salvador. Currently CoCoSI provides educational opportunities to two Self Help Groups of 53 persons living with HIV; furnishing tools that have enabled them to live healthy lives by learning the importance of self-care and living free from re-infection. Members of these groups have improved self-esteem; they understand the importance of gender equality, of preventing gender based violence and bullying. The people from these two Self-Support Groups are empowered with knowledge of how to advocate for their human rights before governmental agencies. Many have benefited by receiving economic assistance for monthly medical appointments, their laboratory work and acquiring their Anti-Retroviral Meds (ARV’s). Some people were even helped in repairing their leaky roofs, getting water to their little shacks or being relocated to escape gang violence and discrimination. CoCoSI is proud to participate in your commemoration of International AIDS Day and we want you to know that these people would not have had these opportunities without the tireless support of PWRDF. From the bottom of our hearts – Mil Gracias! (MANY THANKS!)