Karen Ressel, LWF Uganda, 2010
One of the greatest challenges in the battle against AIDS is helping young people avoid contracting HIV in the first place. Mr. Byaruhanga John, an AIDS educator and teacher, is working with LWF Uganda to train peer educators to assist students avoid infection by the deadly virus. Ten students from the Sembabule Secondary School were selected to participate in the LWF week long training, five girls and five boys.
One young woman, Olivia states, “I am a peer educator trained by Lutheran World Federation to sensitize the people, most especially the youth, about HIV, how it can be contracted, preventative measures, how we treat people when they learn they are infected, and how to live happy when they are positive, things like that, we learned a lot.”The LWF Uganda is enrolling youth leaders, like Olivia, to help reinforce the need to avoid risky behaviours and lower the HIV prevalence rate among young people. Mr. Byaruhanga, “I found even the young students, who had not gone for training, would consult them [peer educators], and ask them questions. They have more confidence in them than in we adults.”
Emmanuel, peer educator, feels the work they do makes a difference, “We are educating our fellow students on the dangers of HIV. Some of them were behaving badly, but when we trained them, they changed their behaviour.” LWF Uganda is excited to partner educators like John and outstanding young people like Olivia and Emmanuel in the creating a happier, healthier future for Ugandans.