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Day 3 – Understanding the Complexities of HIV/AIDS

After a brief hiatus, we’re back to continue Daniel’s journey in India.

By Daniel Lee

HIV/AIDS Drop-in Centre

It’s a place where most of the HIV/AIDS mothers and children gather together. For them it is a safe space for them to share their experiences, get counselling and supplementary nutrition from the doctors.

The mothers shared their experiences of being neglected by the community, of their children being neglected in school; some were even chased out from their rented houses.

Through the help of this Centre, the community began to understand more about HIV, and the people living with HIV/AIDS have been accepted. And now the community treats them better, but they still wish to reach out to more HIV patients and to help as many as possible.

But I’m glad that they are coping well, I feel that they should have brought this issue to the court for being treated this way.

And they were really happy to talk to us especially the children. I guess they just want to live normal lives.

Family of 5

In a very rural area, we met Raju*, his 3 children and his old mother.

Raju is HIV-positive; his deceased wife passed away cause of HIV.

The current situation showed that he’s very sick and cannot work, while his mother is about 75, too old and frail to earn a living.

Daniel
Raju’s simple house

So the villagers work together to give them food every day, while the children were sent to a hostel for their schooling. And they are taken care by the villagers and World Vision.

Daniel
Meeting the community under a tree

Hope of a Family

Husband and wife are both HIV-Positive, with 2 daughters.

World Vision was able to provide them with better opportunities.

Both husband and wife seems to be living health lives and working as carpenters

The wife also runs a small grocery stores with a public telephone and a refrigerator. And in the future she hopes that she can afford to run a cafe with a small hotel business.

HIV/AIDS is not as simple as getting an illness and curing it with medication. The fact of the matter is, HIV/AIDS has no cure, many factors come into play to complicate the circumstances for a family and the community. Do click here to learn more about the work World Vision does in terms of HIV/AIDS.

* Raju’s real name has been changed to protect his identity.

Day 2 – Getting adjusted

By Daniel Lee

School Visit

World vision has help the primary school to level the ground, build a water pump, construct a wall for safety and security and most importantly provided school materials, food and nutrition for the children.

So that they can have place to train, especially in sports. And I felt so proud to know that, they have always been the champion among the 42 schools in the area of sports.

They performed dances for us, and it was a joy to see them sing for us, we really enjoyed that.

Daniel

The tragedy of HIV/AIDS

Just about a week ago, World Vision got to know of this 20-year old young man, taking care of his family of six = the grandpa, grandma, mother, 2 sisters and himself. The father committed suicide over the pressures of being HIV-positive and couldn’t handle the burden of taking care of the family. The mother who is also HIV-positive, is quite ill.

The family lives in 2 simple huts next to a railway station.

Daniel

And all the while, this young man worked as a hard laborer on a farm.

Right now, the situation is still not so good, but World Vision has just started to help them as they are able.

In a month’s time, World Vision will help him to open a sundry store next to the railway station. And will help to take care of his mother and the grandparents’ health, and as a first step, see that the sisters get an education.

And we feel that, at least everything will be okay for them.

Light at the end of a Tunnel

At the end of the day, we met Rehenna. She was a World Vision sponsored child for the last 13 years.

She came from a poor family, but with the help of World Vision, she was able to continue her studies, and now able to pursue her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Logistic.

We are thankful that World Vision Child Sponsors have given these children hope and success.

Conclusion of Day 2

Today, we have seen some very difficult stories, we see little children with so much energy, passion and hopes, we saw a family struggling to survive with the basics of healthcare and living in dire poverty, and we also saw a very successful child that has been blessed by World Vision.

Day 1 in India – Understanding the Situation

By Daniel Lee


Day 1

Slums in Vijayawada

We’re now visiting a slum area in Vijayawada, near the Krishna River. In the slum we could see families having this own small space of home, while the ladies are washing clothes in the river and drying it directly on the ground.

Daniel

Story of Heartbreak

Jaya*’s husband is a lorry driver that always travels for work and lives away from his family for a few months at a time. And he is HIV-positive, so the wife was also infected.

From her expressions, we could feel that she was very depressed about this matter. Before they got married, her family was proud of him and considered him a good man to marry, but when things changed, everyone held her responsible for marrying him. She was very upset at first, but had to just face it.

Well we are glad that she looks healthy and cheerful. But she’s worried about her daughter who is now only 1 and a half years old. She’s worried of one day needing to leave this world, and who will take care of her daughter?

Saree Seller

Rani*, a 20-year old girl, her parents passed away because of HIV/AIDS, and she was the one left to take care of her brother and sister. She earned money by selling sarees from house to house. The 3 of them are staying in a rented house, with a walkway to the entrance that is just about 2 feet. Every morning she wakes up, she cooks for the family, then she go out to sells the sarees for a living.

Daniel

When we asked her about her dream, she meekly says that she couldn’t afford to dream for herself, but she wishes that her brother and sister be good and study well. And maybe one day she can own her own sewing machine.

Well, we are very glad for them, and wish that they could always stay happy together.

Outskirts

A 10-year old boy Raja* who is HIV-positive lives as an orphan. His parents passed away when he was very young. The father passed away when he was 3 months old, and the mother when he was 3 years old. Right now he’s taken care by his elder sister and grandma.

We’re not sure how much he knows about HIV, but he knows that he is different from other children. However, his friends and people around him treat him as a normal child.

And when he grows up, he speaks of wanting to to be a policeman, cause he wants to help people. While the grandma just hope that he studies hard and is able to get a job that doesn’t involve hazardous work, so that he doesn’t need to work so hard.

Conclusion

After visiting these families, I actually think that they might not live in dire poverty, but being HIV-positive and losing family members has given them a very hard time.

But we are glad that they are strong enough to face it.

And thru World Vision, they are at least taken care, and educated about healthcare, especially HIV/AIDS.

Daniel

*all names have been changed to protect the identity of these people.

Daniel’s First Foray into India

by Daniel Lee

Landing in the Land of Hyderabad, India

It’s 1am in the morning, 20°C, we are on our way from the airport to the city of Hyderabad.

Daniel

Other than the presence of a lil’ bit more Indians, and the Hindi signboards, It doesn’t feel like I’m actually in India. Maybe they speak the English we normally hear from any of our Indian friends in Malaysia. And the Hyderabad airport is not very much different from KLIA.

Riding World Vision’s jeep into the city, it just feels like the Malaysia I know. Two lane highways, drivers driving on the left hand side, orange coloured street lights, trucks on the road, shop houses like that in Changlun…

But now further from the airport, the road becomes a lil’ more bumpy.

Still Don’t Know What to Expect

Along the way, from this very small airport to the hotel, this small corner of Hyderabad city seems to be quite developed. They actually have a very big rice field, while further away, they have this very beautiful hotel that we are staying in, ice-cream shops, branded jeans stores, cars showrooms…

So I still cannot imagine, how’s the village that we are visiting gonna be like?

Finally Vijayawada

With the Kingfisher turboprop, we finally land in Vijayawada a very cute town in India, with a small airport. This place is so beautiful, with plots of big rice fields.

Daniel

Do check out Daniel’s India journey through the entire week of  22 February 2010.

6天的印度之旅 (6 Days in India)

Check out this space as we bring to you Daniel Lee 李桀汉’s diary through World Vision’s work in India.

6天的印度之旅

从来没想过自己有机会,可以到印度去,所以我真的真的不知该有什么心理准备,也很不确定这一次以世界宣明会的代表,能够为他们做些什么。

不过在印度的6天,真的让我大开眼界,学到很多东西,而且我想,我会很想念这里的咖喱,繁忙的交通,这里的小朋友,我们探访的家庭,还有大马团的每一位。

我了解到贫穷固然是影响他们很大的因素,但更糟的是HIV在印度已经传染到很严重的地步了。所以很多贫穷的家庭都是因为健康的关系,无法好好工作,甚至很多都因为家长重病而逝世,小孩的未来就这样给毁了。很多都是因为HIV关系,影响了他们的经济能力,也影响了小孩的学业。

不过感到高兴的是,印度有很多社区都受到世界宣明会的照顾和帮助。他们的医务、药剂、学业、经济,及人民们的心理建设都有受到关怀,希望这样可以减低他们的贫穷率,及减少HIV的数量,同时也提高人民对HIV的了解,希望那些无辜的病患者都受到一样的待遇。

在此,我很希望各位幸运的朋友们,可以跟我们一起和世界宣明会联手帮助这些朋友们。

敬之,

李桀汉

Daniel

6 Days in India

I’ve never thought that I would, or ever have a chance to go to India in my life. So I really didn’t know what to expect in this trip. And I was quite unsure on what I could actually do as me or as a part of World Vision.

But everything’s seems to be great and cool, I thought it was fun and I learned a lot. I’m gonna miss the curry, the crazy traffic, the children and families that we met, and everybody from Malaysia in our trip.

And thru the trip, I learned that poverty might be an issue for the people, but the toughest thing to see is people living with HIV, as it’s a serious issue in India. Some of these people lose their health, some lose their loved ones, and it just changes their future somehow. A lot of them suffer because of HIV, then it affects their financial support and also children’s education…

Thankfully World Vision has helped this community a lot, in terms of healthcare, medication, education, financial and social supports, to decrease the number of HIV and poverty. And to increase the awareness about HIV, at least everybody understands that the innocent people who are infected should have the same treatment.

So we really hope all of us who are more blessed, can give a hand to World Vision, to help these people.

Love,

Daniel

Mrs Ornanong and Richard Supat – lives that inspired me

Last month, I had the privilege of meeting two former World Vision sponsored children from Thailand and The Philippines, who were in town to offer their voices and share their lives with the Malaysian public. And because of my job scope, I had the honor of sitting through their interviews with the media. With that, I try my best now to share with you their stories. Simple yet powerful stories, of how lives were transformed. Stories of hopes that became realities. Stories that made a person pay attention to listen, not because one has to but because one is attracted to.

Once in a while, we meet people who inspire us, who made us believe in the goodness of humanity again. Such were the sweet encounters with Mrs Ornanong Panyawang Awakul, from Thailand and Mr Richard Supat, from The Philippines. One was a former Ms Thailand 1992, who is now a well known actress, TV host and a celebrity in her home country. The other, holds a degree in Mass Communications and an MBA, spearheading the Human Resources Department of a location-based services in his home country. Neither of them ever thought that their lives would take such a turn.

Richard Supat

Both were born into a poor family, struggling to survive on daily basis. Richard’s parents were working in a peanut butter factory, depending on daily wages. Richard, who grew up in the ‘shanti’ (slums) area of Metro Manila known as the ‘sin city’, got emotional when speaking to The Star journalist, reminded that sometimes he only had rice with salt. Life took a gradual turn after he got selected into World Vision’s Child Sponsorship programme, teaching him values beyond classroom education – learning to be thankful and to be a good steward of what has been given. I believe lessons like these are the ones that shape a person’s world views. Richard eludes a quiet yet friendly persona and his humility amazed me when we met. When he sang “You Raised Me Up” at our This Is My World Vision Campaign launch, each word came alive from a soul who truly understood the lyrics. I must say, some of the audience present were at the verge of tears.

Richard Supat

In his interview with BFM 89.9 BFM 89.9, Richard said “Never in my entire life, I would imagine that someone I don’t know would help me. So that is a big responsibility and that has taught me to love other people who you do not know and just be there for them.” This is the beauty of the World Vision Child Sponsorship programme, it not just about a programme or the donation of RM65/ 80 per month but more than that, it is a journey together – the sponsor and the sponsored child.

Ornanong

Mrs Ornanong, was always pleasant and one of the most down to earth celebrity I’ve met. She was always polite, even when speaking through an interpreter and there was a certain radiance about her smile. This was a child who came from a family of 7 siblings and her father was a construction worker by day and a tricylce taxi peddler by night, relying on daily wages. Her mother was a factory worker and sold fruits in the market. Growing up, she taught she would turn out to be a fruit vendor like her mom.

Ornanong

World Vision came to the school she was studying one day and identified the poorest families, offering if they would like to be a part of its Child Sponsorship programme. The rest, as they say, is history for her. She kept her grades at school and eventually learned the traditional Thai dance, which contributed to her winning the title of Ms Thailand in 1992. She made public her background of poverty and that she was a sponsored child to the media upon winning the crown, believing that one should not be ashamed but instead, be grateful of how much her life has been changed because of the generosity of others. Today, she sponsors 6 children with her husband, saying that she can relate to them because she was once in their shoes. This is her way of encouraging the sponsored children that they must not give up on their dreams.

“World Vision is like a boat, it collects people on-board along the way and bring them to their destination”, she said through her translator to New Tide magazine journalist. Will you join us in this journey? Thank You, Mrs Ornanong and Richard, for being such amazing living testimonies.

I am writing this entry, not because its part of my job as a staff but because I truly believe in the work World Vision does. I hope you too, can believe in us to Build A Better World For Children. You can be that person for someone else too.

From a Sponsor’s Heart (Part II)

By Chew Sue Lee

It’s refreshing to see the community in action, especially when you live in the city where individualism takes first place. We stayed at one of the communities one of the nights, and after dinner, we had fellowship with the community. Obviously that place being the only place where there was electricity, it was where everyone gathered. And we had fun together. How different it is from us being at our homes, where every family is in their individual houses, and every family member is in their own room! 


SL

Meeting my sponsor child and her mom was really special. She’s a really sweet girl whose mom obviously loves her very much. Margareta is no longer just a name to me but a person with a face, with a history and a story. Perhaps that’s the value of joining World Vision’s child sponsorships programme versus just paying a donation to a community. Because in having a sponsor child, at least for me, i feel not only compassion and a desire to help my kid, but the whole community. Because I know that if the community my child lives in is in dire straits, then my child too can’t move very far in life. We know that most times poverty is not so much an individual problem, but a societal problem caused by failed social structures, systems and flawed leaders. I guess that’s why God calls us to seek justice for all, and to usher in His Kingdom. We all have roles to play and perhaps for some of us it’s doing the work, but for some of us, it would be providing the resources for others to do the bulk of the work.


SL

Sue Lee and her sponsored child, Margareta

Being in Indonesia and talking to some of them villagers also helped me look at Indonesian workers in Malaysia in a different light. They are people with stories, with perhaps difficult backgrounds, and they have families whom they are trying to give a better living to. I guess it’s true that unless you step into a person’s shoes, you can never pretend to know what their life is like and the kinds of things they are dealing with.

I can learn to be more emphatic towards them.

SL

I hope more people will consider sponsoring a child through World Vision. We live a blessed life and we too easily take things for granted – no water for 10 minutes…”WHAT?!” The daily amenities we have each day, should be and is cause for great thanksgiving.

Cheers, Sue Lee

From a Sponsor’s Heart (Part I)

By Chew Sue Lee, Child Sponsor

The Singkawang Sponsor visit spanned over 5 days in December. We were in Pontianak/Singkawang visiting the many community projects handled by World Vision or Wahana Visi (as the Indonesians call the organisation).

A bulk of the projects curently focuses on providing clean water to the communities, by helping them to build water tanks. Amazingly the water is clean and fresh as it comes straight from the source up in the mountains. Before these tanks, many of the communities had to transport unclean water from a far away river, consuming much of their time. They had no toilets and no running water, and that in itself is a cause of many health problems such as diarrhea etc. There are many more communities without running water but the communities themselves are now seeking to help their neighbors obtain fresh water supply.

SL

World Vision also helps to set up kindergartens (also know as PAUDs = Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini) at these little villages. Providing pre-school education for the rural children is important because without it the children really struggle when they enter primary school. Of course World Vision also works hard to encourage children to finish at least their primary school education as many drop out due to the usual reasons of “it’s more profitable to work than study” or because children have to take care of their siblings, or it’s too difficult to get to school (some children walk over an hour to get to school, no matter the weather).
The situation is even bleaker for those wanting to finish secondary school as they have to pay monthly school fees which many of them can’t afford. Other things World Vision helps with, is teaching them how to save and invest in the local credit union (even little children!), as well as simple but important things like providing mosquito nets to families.

SL


What’s cool with World Vision’s work there is that they work hand in hand with the community. So whatever good that comes out of the village is a credit to the people there as well since without them, nothing can be accomplished. They are the ones to build the water tank, to dig the trenches for the pipeline, to build the school etc. World Vision just provides the resources, the expertise and the support. So it’s cool to see World Vision working together with the people, empowering them to improve their standard of living for a better future. The World Vision field staff there are amazing people who are full of passion for the work and for the people they are serving. Theirs is not an easy job!


SL


The children Malaysians sponsor benefit from all these World Vision projects, obviously, and our RM65 or 80/month perhaps goes further when collected together to be used for the community, rather than just as a handout for the children. And what amazed me about these communities is that in talking to the adults, you don’t get the sense that they pity themselves. They have a lot of dignity and even though they are less fortunate, they are generous people, and full of love and care for each other.

Cheers, Sue Lee

p/s do look out for Part II of Sue Lee’s story in Singkawang!