Bopha* has been working in the garment industry for 18 years. During this time she has had many roles, including being a peer educator with CARE’s Sewing for a Brighter Future project and being an HIV/AIDS committee member for the past four years.
This year CARE has started training HIV/AIDs committee members so that they are able to conduct sessions for workers themselves, rather than having outside trainers come into the factory. Bopha has found this very beneficial. “[CARE’s training] has helped me understand more about my role and my responsibilities as a committee member. I have better knowledge on HIV/AIDS and STDs which I may have not known earlier.
”During the training sessions Bopha holds with workers, she covers topics such as how to protect themselves from contracting HIV and where they can find quality support services. She also discusses what those with HIV should do to take care of themselves.
Bopha says sharing information about HIV and AIDS is very important because there are many people who are HIV positive in and around her factory. She believes that one of the most important reasons for speaking openly about this is to reduce the stigma associated with HIV.
Bopha is very positive about how her involvement with CARE is helping her to develop. “Being a peer educator and committee member provides me opportunities to participate, attend trainings and workshops, meet new people and learn from trainings and experiences contributing to my career growth,” she says. She also values how her training is benefitting those around her. “I like contributing to social work and helping my peers. Being a peer educator provided me an opportunity to learn and share important and useful information with other workers like me.”
These efforts are so successful that she is now receiving international attention. Bopha recently posted some pictures of her training session on facebook. “I wanted to understand how my friends perceive this topic and my being involved as a trainer, so I shared some photos of the trainings I conduct,” she recounts. “People talked about these so much that a factory manager from Taiwan contacted me on the facebook post! He congratulated me on the training and wanted to know more about the program. He wanted to know how he could get such trainings at their factories.”
It is feedback like this which keeps Bopha motivated and keen to continue in her role. “Such incidents make me feel very happy, motivated and proud,” she concludes.
* Name have been changed