By: Dr. Alphinus Kambodji
For six years Dr. Alphinus Kambodji has worked for UEM in the Asia Region and developed the HIV and Aids work there. Here is his report:
I joined UEM in January 1, 2005, and I will finish my contract on December 31, 2010 as a UEM Consultant on Anti AIDS Program in Asia Region.
In the begining of my work, I started visiting all UEM member Churches in Asia in order to launch the campaign “Breaking the silence”. Furthermore the first year was used to map the realities of HIV & AIDS in Asia. The meeting with the all Church leaders and responsible persons for Anti HIV and AIDS in UEM members was the necessity part in the beginning.
Then, I invited responsible persons for Anti HIV & AIDS Program of each Asian member churches to an APDIME (Assessment, Planning, Design, Implementing, Monitoring and Evaluation) Training. After this training, all churches developed their own HIV & AIDS Committee or Working Group. The next step was providing them with capacity building to implement their planned programs. UEM Anti AIDS Programme supports financially their efforts.
Under the coordination of UEM Anti HIV & AIDS Programme Coordinator in Wuppertal and later on in Asia Department, I also developed a network and partnership with government within the country, HIV/AIDS International agencies/local NGOs, as well as with other Mission organization such as Mission 21, EMS, CCA, and Asian Interfaith Network on AIDS (AINA), and Indonesian Interfaith Network on HIV/AIDS (INTERNA). We provide dsome training and supported each other by sharing funds, expertise and educational materials.
Based on my experiences in dealing with HIV & AIDS program in UEM member churches, I learn that the best and meaningful way to prevent HIV and AIDS in a church & society is by mainstreaming this issues to the existing programs in the respective church i.e. youth, women, men, and in diakonia’s program. Beside that, working with Teological Seminaries is also an important opportunity to equip candicate of Pastors to understand the issue and to equip them with the necesssity knowledge for their present and future service in the church. Part of this is to raise their awareness on specific aspect of pastoral counseling and to reduce stigma and discrimintation to those living with HIV and AIDS.
In the meantime, I finally come up with an idea to develop a holistic approach in addressing HIV & AIDS in the churches and in their respective communities. In the middle of 2009, I proposed the concept of HOLISTIC (House Of Love for Information, Shelter, Treatment and Integrated Care) as a center based and community based approach on HIV and AIDS intervention, and piloting it in Indonesia. This holistic program is called “PONDOK KASIH” (House of Love). Pondok Kasih are already built in Pematang Siantar for three UEM members GKPS, GKPI and HKI, in Papua by GKI-TP, in Malang by GKJW and in Salatiga by GKJTU (Pastoral Counseling Center).
It is my humble prayer that what I have started in UEM to serve those who are marginalized and stigmatized in the Asian communities will be continued and enhanced to the glory of Jesus Christ. For, He has come also to embrace the HIV & AIDS infected and affected people.