By: Somluck Khamsaen, World Vision Thailand
Duan*, a 40-year-old woman lives in a village in Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand. She and her husband were happy living together with their one son. Her husband had carpentry skills and was hard working. After harvesting rice, he would look for carpentry work to support his family.
One day her husband became very ill and he went to see a physician. On the advice of the physician, he took a blood test. He tested HIV positive and it was in the final stage.
At that time, AIDS and HIV-positive people were discriminated against and unaccepted in communities. People were suspicious and did not have an accurate understanding. Duan could not leave home to go to the market or attend an event organized by the community.
Duan was shocked for the second time when the HIV test results came back positive for her and her son too. She cried until there were no more tears left. She could not accept it and refused to disclose the truth to her son.
Her husband could not accept the truth. His health deteriorated and he quickly passed away, leaving her with son. Two years later, her son, age 10, also passed away.
She decided to join a local HIV support group, as suggested by a friend at the hospital.
her Joy Returns
Duan and other group members have received help with income generating activities, such as broom making, herbal medicine, bead making, sewing cotton bags and raising catfish and chickens. The most recent income generating activity started by World Vision's Khuntan development area is raising crickets.
“Thank you, World Vision for giving us funds to participate in many income generating activities and essential knowledge," says Duan.
Duan has also started volunteering at the community hospital once a week from morning to midday. Her tasks include taking blood pressure, taking down health information and giving advice on health care. In the afternoon, she visits homes of group members. She has found joy in talking to her friends.
A group meeting is held on the first Friday of every month. Here Duan will share about her new knowledge that she receives from training organised by World Vision and other organisations. The group makes it a regular agenda to visit the sick at their home- a practice that World Vision has taught them.
Duan is satisfied that she can help the sick, care for the orphans and vulnerable children through the support services that the group helps to initiate in Khuntan ADP.
“Family has value and is the most precious thing in life,” Duan says. “I want everyone to be concerned about protecting themselves.”
“Thank you, World Vision for giving me the opportunity to take care of other people and training us to care for people with AIDS. The CCC support centre has taught us to share with those who have nothing at all,” she reveals.
The support group is now caring for 298 adult members and 40 orphans and vulnerable children. They are still raising crickets to sell for generating income and paying expenses, caring for sick children and supporting the education of orphans in their village. They are able to view the days ahead with fresh hope.
*Name changed to protect identity.