News / Asia

Former Drug User Turns to Soccer to Combat Stigma, Teach About HIV

Ginan Koesmayadi, HIV advocate, soccer coach
Ginan Koesmayadi, HIV advocate, soccer coach

Because drug users often engage in dangerous behaviors like sharing dirty needles, they are at more risk of becoming infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Many of those infected struggle to cope with not only addiction and HIV treatment, but also with the social stigma associated with AIDS. VOA profiles Indonesian activist Ginan Koesmayadi, who takes a different approach to rehabilitation, using soccer to help HIV-infected addicts stay clean and show the world they can lead normal lives in this installment of Making a Difference.

Ginan Koesmayadi started a soccer team of HIV-infected drug users to take their minds off their addiction. Soon he realized the game might be the key to both their recovery and acceptance in the community. "It can increase an HIV-positive person's confidence. It can show to society that we can do what common people do, so that marginalization against HIV positive people in society can be reduced through football," he said.

Koesmayadi is himself an HIV-positive former drug user. He is co-founder of Rumah Cemara, a drug rehabilitation center in the Indonesian city of Bandung. Most of the staff are ex-drug users. Koesmayadi says their experience helps them better relate to and more effectively counsel those fighting addiction.

While most of the center's programs show addicts the road to recovery, team member Richie Erlangga says football motivates them to want to change. "Football is giving a more mental effect. If I don't play football I feel lazy, but if I play I feel spirit. It is not influencing me physically, but it is more psychological," he said.

Last year Rumah Cemara's football team won the annual championship sponsored by Indonesia's National Narcotics Board. And in September it will represent Indonesia in Brazil in the World Homeless cup.

Koesmayadi says football helps the community see the players for what they can achieve and helps players take charge of their lives. "Problems don't make us terrified and down. (It's more that problems make us think.) Difficulties are intended to make us better, not bitter," he stated.

Koesmayadi says he is lucky to have such a close family at Rumah Cemara, and he will keep its doors open to those in need.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid