Transforming the lives of HIV-affected children for eight years with YMCA

April 2016 │ Thailand

Today’s children are the key to a brighter future. But if you are a child infected with HIV, access to a good quality of life becomes difficult.

From 2007, Deutsche Bank worked hand-in-hand with the Bangkok Y.M.C.A Foundation (YMCA) to improve the lives of HIV-affected children in Thailand on a programme to provide access to education and the required support networks, thereby enabling them to grow up like normal children to be good citizens in adulthood.

YMCA reaches out to HIV-families with economic problems, to enable children in these families to receive education, with the help of Deutsche Bank’s sponsorship. In addition to providing transport and school expenses, the organisation also creates awareness of the virus amongst the children and in society, and provides support for the children and their families.

In eight years, more than 600 children from poor backgrounds have benefited, allowing them access to education and support. Many children in the project come from poor economic backgrounds, with some coming from single-parent families.

YMCA also focuses on building the relationship among family members and encourages children to be self-reliant by providing follow-up and support networks.  Working with communities in Nakhon Pathom, Sub-Urban area of Bangkok such as Rachaburi province, the project aims to increase the understanding and awareness of the disease in Thailand, to create a better quality of life for the children.

Kwanjai*, a YMCA beneficiary, lost her parents to AIDS when she was one year old. She was brought up by her 80-year-old elderly grandmother, who lives on a monthly Government welfare of 700 baht.

As a child with HIV, she is no stranger to the need for daily medication. As a result of her health issues, Kwanjai also went through a period where she dealt with anger issues and suicidal thoughts.

Two years ago, Kwanjai almost lost her life while coming down with a serious illness. When she was hospitalised, Kwanjai’s grandmother appealed for help for her illness. They were introduced to YMCA, where Kwanjai was successfully recruited as a child scholar. Upon recovery, Kwanjai started living with YMCA at the Happy Home Centre, where she was given the opportunity to study and have similar rights with other children. It was at Happy Home Centre where she learnt to interact with other children. Subsequently, she even took on the role of “big sister” to other younger and weaker children. Her health has improved by leaps and bounds and she looks better after putting on weight.

Kwanjai has since graduated and will continue to further her studies. She has now moved home to be closer to her grandmother, and will continue her studies at a nearby school. YMCA provided her with medical support and access to doctors and medical personnel before the move home, and has continued checking in with Kwanjai on a regular basis.

Thanking the donors who supported her through her difficult time, Kwanjai said, “Thank you for sustaining my life till today. I will promise to look after my health and do all my best for others.”

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the beneficiary.

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Last Update: April 25, 2016
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