Buds of Christ Charitable Trust

Buds of Christ's vision is to "empower children and enable wellbeing" With the vision our mission is "to love, listen, learn and lead orphans and vulnerable children to live life positively and with dignity and be children of hope and courage to their peers and to their community"
Oct 22, 2013

Leadership skills from Singapore STAR Academy

Team Building Game
Team Building Game

A three-day leadership training was organized for young adolescents by the STAR academy based in Singapore at Buds of Christ office, India. The programme has been organized in evolving leaders among young people to be future leaders of hope and courage to other children and young people like them.

The three day workshop focused on three major areas, first “Knowing oneself”;

“When they started the day and told us to write our special skill or talent that would be self encouraging, I felt very funny as we have always thought self praise will result in pride. But at the end of the third day it helped me realise that this step has boosted my self esteem and made me feel more confident about myself” said an orphan boy  living with HIV

 The second area on “YOU and others “;

“I used to be very depressed because my mother often complains and scolds me. On the second day on coping with your thoughts, I learnt how important it is to ignore the negative thoughts and holding on to it will make you more depressed” expressed an adolescent girl living with her widowed mother

The Third was “We”, where the members focus on a common goal and working together in realizing the goal as a team.

“When we had game, I just got involved completely in the game and tried to focus on winning as a team. Later during reflections, I could learn how much this game made me realise the potential that I had as a leader which I had not realized earlier” said an orphan adolescent boy

The exercises included self assessment of themselves using DISC profiling, followed by team building exercise under stress conditions that brought in the various characteristics of who takes the lead and who is supportive and who is an encourager and who remains silent.

On the final day, the adolescents were also able to evolve short-term projects to help people like them. The two major projects that the adolescents have evolved is leadership training for new young people who are in the neighboring taluk and life skills for adolescents through peer-based strategy.

At the end of the workshop the participants were awarded certificates acknowledging their participation.

Project Planning by Adolescents
Project Planning by Adolescents
Sep 18, 2013

Reproductive Health Education - Need of the hour for Adolescents

 

HIV treatment availability through district ART centers and the link ARV centers have enabled rural adolescents to avail the ARV drugs without much constraint. Buds of Christ has been working with over 150 adolescents for the last four years in Namakkal district and among them are 40 adolescents living with HIV. The two major issues affecting HIV positive adolescents are;

Poor adherence among adolescents living with HIV:
Close monitoring of adherence among adolescents living with HIV reveals that there is poor adherence during adolescence. Fear of death, fear of being discriminated by their peers on knowing their status and fear of AIDS related symptoms, strong feeling of being a burden to the family dominate most adolescents. Often, adolescents have considered suicide attempts and neglect towards treatment as solutions.

HIV positive adolescents support group meetings
Support group was initiated at the Government ART Center once a month while they come to receive ART drugs. The support groups enabled to find coping strategies and has evolved them as strong peer influencers.
A 16 years old orphan boy was poor adherer to treatment, as he felt the medications were causing memory loss, lack of support from the extended family made him feel he was burdening them with care thus he wanted to die early. Becoming part of support group, he was resistant for 3 months, but later on seeing the confidence and motivation among his peers, he made a decision to adhere. He attributes the support from peers has helped him change the decision.

Lack of positive prevention skills for adolescents living with HIV:
HIV positive adolescents need guidance to make responsible choices over their sexual relationships, in preventing new infections. The focus on Positive adolescents have been limited only to treatment assessment and there are instances where adolescents living with HIV have taken decisions of marrying early without disclosing their status and have caused new infections among their partners. 
Devi 16 year old orphan living with HIV, a poor adherer to medication made her health condition very severe. She also got involved into a relationship with a boy 21 years and married without revealing her status to him. Now, the boy is infected and she is pregnant.

Strategy - Life skills based sexual and reproductive health programme:
The life skills programme involves young people living with HIV to openly talk their concerns and fear around relationships and also make responsible choices of preventing infections to other young people. The fortnightly sessions organised at Buds of Christ provides a platform for young people in rural areas to communicate their values, know more about themselves, understand the adolescent development stages, and learn to cope with emotions and stress and understand vulnerability in risky behaviors.
Beena , 20 year old orphan living with HIV has been part of the adolescent life skills group. Marriage pressures mounted yet she was very firm in making a decision that she will get married to an HIV positive person who is aware of her status. She expressed that the information gained through the life skills sessions enabled her to be assertive in making right choices and accessing SRH services during pregnancy and delivery. Beena enjoys good relationship with a husband and has a child who is HIV negative.
These peer support programmes for adolescents living with HIV have enabled young people to find support from one another and also establish higher goals for their future. The need to create a space for adolescents living with HIV in the health care settings is the need of the hour.
Jul 30, 2013

My Problem is not TOO BIG for me

The Buds n Colors camp for the year 2013 was organized with the theme “Dream BIG” and was organized specially for orphan adolescents between the age group of 13 and 17 years. This was a Residential camp for 4 days at Yercaud, Salem.

One of the sessions on the 4 days camp was on BUILDING SELF ESTEEM. The exercise was designed as writing a poem. The participants were guided through the exercise and were encouraged to document every instance (including both joy, sad, memorable moments etc) in the poem. The oneness in the group was facilitated through the exercise. Though it raised emotions, the members support for one another helped the participants gain the courage to share the poem in open.

After the end of the session, children expressed the following

“Until I came here, I thought the problems in my family is big, but in the sharing I could learn there are more severe problems affecting my friends and my problem is not too big for me”- an adolescent who recently lost her father.

“When I wrote the poem, though it brought some of the things that I often suppress in my heart, it ended with the note of what I aim to be and I understood unless I bring those emotions that suppress me, I would not be able to move ahead”- an adolescent boy who lives with his widowed mother

“I often worry about my HIV status and sometimes I would ask why only me, but today when I could share my poem in open and finally mention what I aspire to be in the poem, I realised that the status will no more put me down, because I have friends who are there to support me now”- expressed by an HIV positive adolescent.

Following this, to encourage each other and how inner strength is more beautiful than the external or physical beauty, a session was conducted among the participants to list down what they feel about themselves. The group members themselves tried assessing the statements.

The most staking response following the session was “I hated myself, especially because of fat changes affecting my chin and face region, thus changing my facial appearance. Even the medication has resulted in skin darkening” - expressed by an HIV positive adolescent girl. Following the session, she expressed that “yes, now I am able to accept the changes, what is more important, what I would achieve in my future. Physical changes are temporary” - the same girl expressed vehemently.

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