Cordaid HIV/AIDS Award 2012 goes to YEI
The Youth Empowering Initiative (YEI) has won the Cordaid HIV and AIDS Award 2012. The award was presented during the Nationaal Congres Soa Hiv Seks (National Congress for Sexually Transmitted Diseases HIV Sex), which was recently held for the 16th time in Amsterdam.
YEI is active in West Uganda and East Congo and offers psycho-social support to children who are HIV-positive and young people whose lives are directly affected by the illness.
Amazingly, this organisation was able to raise two-thirds of the means it needs locally, via local companies, local government, the regional hospital, members of the community and through the sale of products from its training centre.
The organisation was started up in 2004, with 56 volunteers between the ages of 14 and 27; it now has 156 young volunteers. Thanks to YEI, 185 prostitutes and 615 young mothers were given lessons in knitting and other handcrafts, with materials and hands-on training being supported by local companies. Artisans from the local community provide the lessons personally and the youngsters, once trained, are supported in their efforts to start small businesses of their own or find jobs in the local community. Many of these young people still feel a bond with the organisation, as well as the need to give it something back, in the form of financial support.
YEI often receives payment in kind, such as the free use of premises for trainees to carry out their activities and somewhere to eat. For the purpose of its radio programme which aims to remove the stigma associated with HIV the organisation received products from local shops to award as quiz prizes. The radio programme is produced by HIV-positive young people from the communities and is sponsored by a telecommunications company. Half a million people listen to the broadcasts.