Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Volunteer Positive: Changing Lives in Chiang Mai

For those of you that have had a chance to pick up a copy of my book, It Ain't Truth If It Doesn't Hurt (available in paperback or e-book), then you will have had a chance to see the amazing artwork of David Berube.

David is a working artist
in New York that received his training from the Columbus College of Art and Design, and is a fantastic printmaking and illustrator. He also has a passion for international travel and has spent significant time traveling and creating art in Southeast Asia.

After returning from his latest trip through China, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, David reminded me of a program that had come to my attention a few months ago called Volunteer Positive. Volunteer Positive brings together HIV positive volunteers around the globe to work in communities impacted by HIV and AIDS. The program is designed to provide HIV positive and allied individuals with a chance to do meaningful international volunteer work.

The Volunteer Positive program states as its purpose:

Volunteer Positive seeks to create a world where people living with HIV can openly serve as international volunteers promoting a global culture of understanding and acceptance through person to person diplomacy.

Volunteer Positive seeks to fight stigma by highlighting the power and efficacy of the HIV affected community.

Volunteer Positive seeks to provide a strong and vibrant image of empowered and self-sustaining HIV long term survivors using their health, passion, and compassion to transform the lives of others.

Volunteer Positive seeks to work with other international volunteer sending organizations to expand awareness of the contributions of people living with HIV.

David will be traveling to Chiang Mai, Thailand where he will be working with a variety of projects including:

the most recognized and respected NGO's in the region. These include and HIV education groups run by Buddhist Monks, a program for HIV orphaned Thai children, LGBT advocacy groups, Arts organizations, refugees from neighboring Burma, HIV+ community support networks, primary and secondary schools, sex worker education facilities, 3rd gender communities, and public health facilities that serve those living with the virus. Each volunteer will be matched with a specific placement, and in addition will also participate in group service work as many different NGO's come together for the benefit of the community.

In addition, every volunteer will receive cultural training that highlights language, culture and current issues in HIV impacting the region. This is an amazing opportunity, but it doesn't come without a cost.

David has already raised 2/3rds of the roughly $4,000 in costs associated with the program, and he has about $1,000 left to go. He is relying on our community to support him in doing this work, which, in his own admission, is a big and transformational step in his own life and work. It is amazing, frightening, and exciting. Let's all help make sure that David can do this work, which is as important for him as it will be for the lives with which he will have a chance to interact.

You can make a personal contribution to David's trip and work through Paypal by sending a donation directly to his account at cutdart@yahoo.com. You can also mail him a check directly by check. And, to sweeten the pot, David will be sending artwork to those that are able to contribute to his trip.

Please consider supporting David and his Volunteer Positive trip...$20 may be a single meal out for you, but it would mean the world to him.

1 comment:

  1. This was a beautiful write up and inspired statement of support. Thank you kindly. Wishing you and yours always the best in joy, wellness, and service.
    Elizabeth Haran Caplan, President Volunteer Positive.


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