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Young offenders benefit from EFAIDS training by the Surinamese unions

Surinamese teacher unions working on the EI EFAIDS Programme have reached out to almost forty young offenders offering them training on HIV prevention and behaviour change. Catering for the needs of the different age groups, trainers from BvL, SOB and KOB facilitated two one-day workshops at the Santo Boma Reformatory School.

Many of the students are working to improve their literacy skills so the EFAIDS trainers tailored the workshop so participants had an opportunity to get involved. Students who were initially reluctant soon warmed to the topic and participated fully in a range of activities, including role plays and songs, designed to help them protect themselves from HIV and AIDS. By using their life experience, students examined their attitudes to risk-taking as a step towards deciding on and practicing safe behaviour. As well as working to ensure all students have the information to protect themselves from HIV, the Surinamese unions are also committed to lowering drop-out rates in schools across Suriname. After researching the issue the unions of the Surinamese EFAIDS Programme met with the Ministry of Education to prepare a good strategy, which centres on developing a network of school-based social workers to work with high-risk children to support them to continue their education. Astrid McDonald of BvL voiced her satisfaction of the Ministry’s reaction to the unions’ initiative, “We very much appreciate the willingness of the national government to tackle the problem.” The unions are also working with the Ministry of Health to develop a workplace policy on HIV and AIDS.

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