Jutatip Dechaboon (Ann)
Thai Program Coordinator for Volunteer Positive

(In her own words, English being her second language.)

First time, before I got to know the Volunteer Positive project, I was so tired from working in HIV and AIDS field. As a person who is also living with HIV, I felt like we have not achieved yet on against stigma and discrimination even though it sounds like Thailand has been successful on access to treatment. My HIV positive friends at local level are still facing all kind forms of stigma and discrimination in their daily lives which cause to self-stigma, decreasing self-esteem and definitely affect to the quality of lives.

When I was introduced to Carlton Rounds, the Executive Director and Founder of the Volunteer Positive organization, I felt something was sparkling inside. I told myself that it could be a time to 'do' some more things to eradicate stigma and discrimination which starting from our own selves. So, I committed to be a local liaison for the Volunteer Positive as a pilot project in Chiangmai, Thailand.

Even I have almost 10 years experience in this field, but it didn't make me feel strong confident in the role. I had so many things to concern with either the ensuring that they both the Volunteers and my local partner friends can get the most benefits from this project or how I can move it on smoothly as this was my first time working on some logistic tasks. It was quite a big challenge to me.

My big concern was a language barrier. There were two from seven organizations who never had a foreign volunteer before and these two organizations are mostly running by HIV positive friends. How I could extremely support them? What about other organizations whose may need  my support too? And if I fully supported them, how I could manage other parts of the project at the same time? Oh my! So many issues was floating in my mind.

I closed my eyes and thought...

Ah, yes! I have the greatest Helper, my beloved God.

I ended up with prayer every days, every times that the issues bothered me.

Yes, It's my personal believe but it did really work to me, especially it made this hot-temper person to be more calm and stable in this situation.

Times flied, the placement period came, so many events went so fast. We were at the last event for the project.

One of many results came to surprise me because two organizations I really concerned with became who were most appreciated with having the volunteers!

Lots of tears during the last event, I could feel so much love among the relationship that would bring us more commitment even we are in different places.

This has proved my belief that HIV is not only about work but lives as well.