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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid