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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid