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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More