A European-backed project has seen success in helping HIV-affected migrant children integrate into society.
HA NOI —
The project, which was launched in January 2009 and wrapped up this month, aimed to empower HIV/AIDS and migrant children and their families to effectively participate in local life.
Run by the Save the Children foundation, the project targeted migrant children in northern Quang Ninh Province, HCM City and southern Ca Mau Province.
Part of the work involved training more than 200 child leaders to participate in policy-making to advocate for the rights of HIV-affected and migrant children.
Nearly 50,000 children took part in information and education activities under the project.
Pham Phuong Dung, 12, living in Quang Ninh Province's Cam Pha District, was one of the project's beneficiaries.
Dung was born HIV-positive and her parents died from AIDS when she was still a child. Her 65-year-old grandmother, Tran Thi Phuong, became Dung's main caretaker.
Being ashamed about their family situation, Dung and Phuong rejected all social activities and help from others. Phuong was worried that if someone knew that Dung had AIDS, her life would be ruined forever.
It wasn't until Dung and her grandmother joined the project in 2009, that they received much-needed support.
The project not only provided Dung with essential nutrition such as rice, oil and milk, as well as a bicycle to go to school, but also opportunities for playing, networking with people who are in the same situation, and taking part in various events that promote children's rights.
Pham Van Nghia, 28, a volunteer worker for the project, said he changed his understanding of the challenges faced by children living with HIV.
"There should be more and bigger forums, with more children and adults attending," said Nghia.
Deputy director of the Quang Ninh Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dang Thi Thanh Thuy said she hoped to receive more support to revise the project's model and apply it on a larger scale. — VNS