Kenneth teaching a visiting short-term missions team on approaches to HIV and AIDS.
Why this project?
Recent statistics put the HIV infection rate in Thailand at over 40 people per day, half of them youth. With globalization and a rapidly changing culture having an effect on sexuality and relationships and where people are constantly moving across boarders Radical Grace is proactively working with local people to find a meaningful response. Radical Grace is about restoring relationships in community as a model of HIV prevention and promotion of care.
Radical Grace: Relational Approaches to HIV and AIDS is an initiative that equips local pastors and community leaders in culturally respectful ways to understand the HIvirus and its impact. Using World Vision’s Channels of Hope programme, among several others, Radical Grace comes alongside churches and communities to equip them to respond effectively to needs arising out of HIV and AIDS. Tools include training for participants to run workshops in their own communities, extending the reach of awareness and response. It also offers an enriching and challenging opportunity to explore a Christian response to the issues.
Kenneth and Kim Fleck, SIM workers from New Zealand, lead this project from their home in northern Thailand. They believe that at its core, HIV and AIDS is a symptom of broken relationship with each other, with God and within communities. Thus, the foremost response must be found in life-transforming relationships that offer hope— to those living with HIV and AIDS, people vulnerable to getting HIV and to those called to minister to them. As people encounter love, relationships are restored, hope rebuilt and faith can be created.
In the past Thailand has done amazingly well in the area of HIV and AIDS but increasingly today there seems to be a global culture of ambivalence. There is a worldview which maintains that you cannot change what fate gives you, and if you engage people living with HIV and AIDS, you may bring their bad luck upon yourself.
A big challenge is helping society address the issues of HIV in a holistic way by helping the societal drivers be recognized. During the Radical Grace workshops, participants assess local cultural, political, social economical drivers for HIV and injustice as well as exploring cultural entryways. Creating a vision for community unity and transformation from within. Thus issues of injustice can be remedied rather than directing prevention and care with an ‘us and them’ motivation.
Kenneth and Kim have a relaxed, easy-going manner combined with a deep passion and giftedness for the work. Kenneth works strategically with other organizations active in HIV and AIDS ministry. Already the fruit of collaboration is expanding the reach of the work.
A very qualified Thai team includes community worker, Taan, as well as Dang and Ann, a couple who will join part-time in 2013.
Donate here and quote HOPE for AIDS Thailand: Radical Grace: Relational Approaches to HIV. Project: # 98382