Contributed by: Fantasy X, Dian Street
I will never forget the moment this girl asked me why am I volunteering for Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Incorporated (PAFPI). She assumed that I am not an HIV positive individual and that I am not an affected family member either. But when I told her that I am a client and that I was diagnosed last May 29, 2013 at Manila Social Hygiene Clinic, I saw how surprised she was.
After that conversation, we made it a point to share countless moments of laughter and endless jokes every time we cross our paths. I wonder if there’s a reason behind her smile. I suddenly had the urge to ask her about it. And here’s her story.
This is my first time to deliver a testimony about my HIV status in front of several unfamiliar faces since I was diagnosed. It feels like I am transported back to a time wherein I am lying on a bed and some of the patients near me were slowly dying. I’ll never forget how life consumed each and every soul beside me. I can hardly see the difference between what I went through on that situation and the feeling I have right now. The similarity is so uncanny that it gave me chills just thinking about it.
For the past few months of being a volunteer for Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Incorporated (PAFPI), I’ve seen people from different walks of life share their stories to motivate newly diagnosed HIV positive individuals. Not only are they opening themselves to the possibility of new found friendship, but most importantly to give a physical and visual illustration of how a person living with HIV (PLHIV) regain the strength and confidence to continue what they started.
Helping others may seem like you are on a charity event, but there’s more to helping than spending time and energy for a cause. Perhaps one of the things that I learned from volunteering for PAFPI is the real meaning of contentment and joy. I’ve been consumed with activities involving learning group sessions and focus group discussions that I forgot how contented I am with what I have been doing.
Volunteering gave me a new meaning to the word ‘growth’ in which I don’t need to gain financial incentives in order to feel productive, happy and satisfied. Simple things that I already am experiencing through helping people who share the same situation as mine and people who are affected by it.
Celestino A. Ramirez, Vice President and Training Director of Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Incorporated (PAFPI), was invited to speak for a capacity building among TB-DOTS facilities service providers from 17 local government units (LGUs) around the National Capital Region. Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) supported the two-part event entitled “Tuberculosis or TB and HIV Collaboration Seminar” was last March 26-28 and April 2-4, 2014 in Angeles, Pampanga. The event was in partnership with the Department of Health National Capital Region Office (DoH-NCRO) and was attended by representatives from different LGUs, doctors, midwives and nurses.
In line with PAFPI’s mission statement to contribute to the national response in advocacy and prevention, Ramirez invited two people living with HIV (PLHIV) to give testimonies about the hardships and successes of dealing with the virus. This is also in line with the organization’s advocacy to educate the public on how a person living with HIV can surpass the borders of depression through proper guidance and quality counseling services.
The two PLHIVs were encouraged to share their stories and to give meaning and depth to the seminar by providing insights on how someone feels after being diagnosed with HIV. The whole experience gave participants a glimpse on the challenges brought by the virus. This also educates the participants on the kind of support that PLHIVs need.
“Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first understood.” – Leonardo da Vinci
‘The Mathematics of Life’ is a self-empowerment lecture formulated by the PAFPI-YaKAP Movement based on Leonardo da Vinci’s words combined with unconventional ways of explaining how one can relate Mathematics to a human being’s capacity and ability to use his or her mind. Some of the unconventional ways mentioned in this lecture includes the concept of Yin and Yang, The Law of Attraction, Albert Einstein’s Law of Special Relativity, etc. This lecture focuses on the different issues regarding psychosocial development and how one would perceive his or her life when immersed on a given environment, especially when faced with a positive HIV status.
Project Longevidad, a partnership project of XTRM team 1-11 of USANA Health Sciences Philippines. Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Inc. (PAFPI), and PAFPI’s Yakap Movement held their first activity last January 31, 2014. The orientation and seminar that tackles the need for character development and training was held at the Bahay Kanlungan drop-in center. The event was attended by some people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHAs) and some personnel of PAFPI.
MAC Cosmetics through its MAC AIDS Fund celebrated World AIDS Day last December 2, 2013 at the posh shopping and lifestyle mall, Glorietta 3, Makati. But what makes the event more glamorous and exciting was the awarding of another fund for year 2014. Yes, it was a happy event indeed especially that Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Inc. (PAFPI) received PHP2,494,000 for its activities this coming year.
Last November 19 and 20 delegates from different youth groups attended the 11th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and The Pacific (ICAAP) Virtual Participation. The two-day event was held at the office of Family Planning Organization of the Philippines located in New Manila, Quezon City.
Your Peso Could Save Lives. This is the idea behind the donation cans, which is a great option if you’re looking for the newest way of sustaining projects or activities. Although PAFPI has a line of projects and involvements funded by different agencies and partners, we seek other ways on how to keep our services running.
Why would you let yourself continue an unknown journey if its easier to end it right away? Perhaps this question was popular amongst other people living with HIV (PLHIVs) especially on the first few weeks, months or years after they were diagnosed. And perhaps this was a question often asked when one was trying to find out the reasons why they got the virus and the fear of not knowing what lies ahead after contracting it. But in the end, all the uncertainties and fears can be eased by a simple yakap or hug.