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Using football to tackle HIV/AIDS in Vietnam


Using football to tackle HIV/AIDS in Vietnam

Programmes utilising football to tackle HIV/AIDS are commonly associated to Southern Africa, especially in the context of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. “Same-same but different”, admittedly the official slogan of Vietnam, matches well with Football for All in Vietnam (FFAV), an organisation that does the same… but in a different region.

“Seeing the children grow makes me love what I do”

For Tinh Chau, it all started a couple of years ago with a trip to Norway. Back then, Tinh was serving as an interpreter for Football For All Vietnam (FFAV), an organization using football to contribute to the social inclusion of marginalized groups such as ethnic minorities, children living with disabilities, and HIV-infected children.

But progressively, her professional obligations grew into a personal commitment. Tinh was rapidly appointed as a project assistant, and has recently taken on additional responsibilities within FFAV. Her passion for her work is Tinh’s main driving force: “Seeing that the children I work with learn something useful through football is truly moving. It actually makes me love what I do”.

From Hué to Cape Town
Tinh is also a certified Kicking AIDS Out Leader Level II, and in this capacity she is currently taking part in a five-day workshop in the surroundings of Cape Town, South Africa, some 7000km away from her hometown Hué.

“This is the first time I come to South Africa, and I must say I was a little worried before the trip. The culture, the language, the food, the people, everything is so different here, at first I was a little lost. But everyone is extremely welcoming, and makes me feel at home.”

All part of the same network
This workshop, organized by the Kicking AIDS Out network, enables the participants to get together and learn from one another. “I realize there is so much I have to learn from other participants. Listening to their stories, I realize some of them have been through extremely challenging times, and I must admit this is truly inspiring for me.”

Furthermore, with participants from the Caribbean, Southern Africa and Asia, the network is meant to support individuals and organisations facing very different challenges. Tinh notes the skills she’s acquiring during the workshop have to be adapted to her specific context: “Not all the skills that I pick up can simply be applied to my daily work in Vietnam. It’s important we think about what’s relevant for our organization, and adapt these facilitation skills to our specific context.”

Finally, if Tinh admits that Vietnam’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is not as preoccupying as in other countries represented at the meeting, the methods and tools encouraged by the Kicking AIDS Out network are just as relevant: “in my community, infection rates are relatively low. However, we need to keep on equipping children with sufficient knowledge about the disease, so that when they grow up they know how to protect themselves and can behave accordingly.”


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Chris Middleton


Friday, November 5, 2010 - 23:00

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