A summer camp for women living with HIV and their children has been organized in Armenia for the second time
With the support of the United Nations HIV/AIDS program, the "Real World, Real People" NGO organized a summer camp in Armenia for children living with HIV from July 19 to 21. The camp involved women living with HIV and their children aged 4 to 11 years old. During the camp, separate courses and information sessions were conducted for different age groups, covering various topics such as holding a mutual support group for parents. Experienced mothers of children with HIV shared their experiences and provided support to mothers of newly diagnosed children. Additionally, the program included activities like presenting fairy tales and informational materials, organizing games, and watching animated cartoons. The mutual aid group discussions revolved around the camp's purpose, age-related considerations when revealing one's HIV status, sharing experiences among parents, disclosing the status in medical institutions and with partners, accessing professional support when needed, dealing with challenges when revealing the status to children, and emphasizing the importance of knowing one's rights. As part of the camp program, various games and team activities were organized for the children to promote unity, team thinking, bonding, and friendship among them. On the second day of the camp, RWRP NGO employees conducted an educational story reading for the children. The fairy tale, adapted from foreign language materials, explained how HIV affects the body and included information about the immune system and the role of ARV drugs in fighting HIV. The main objective of the story was to emphasize the importance of ARV treatment to children so that they understand its significance and adhere to the treatment. To ensure effective communication with the target audience, RWRP specialists chose a storytelling format, with NGO employees participating as actors. After the story, the children watched the animated cartoon "Luca." The cartoon focused on themes such as friendship, embracing differences, self-acceptance, parent-child relationships, understanding, encouragement, dealing with discrimination, and overcoming challenges. Parents found the cartoon interesting and educational as it highlighted the significance of believing in a child's abilities. RWRP specialists also conducted individual sessions with the campers to address issues related to their HIV status, acceptance, and adherence to medication in a disciplined manner.