The most important thing one can learn is one's own HIV status. Armed with that knowledge and the facts TRIAD weaves into programs, individuals can make informed decisions about their own behavior.
HIV/AIDS is a problem of epidemic proportions in South Africa. 5.7 million people in South Africa were infected with the virus at the end of 2007. As the number of deaths has increased over the past several years, thousands of orphaned children have been left without a home, without a legal birth certificate, no resources to attend school or receive medical care. As you can imagine, this only compounds the problem of increasing incidence of HIV infections among the youth. With no social support, activities, or education about the disease these kids lack the life skills to be able to make the decisions to prevent transmission. By training a network of reliable local Medical Educators and promoting healthy lifestyles, TRIAD and our partner communities are making strides against this dangerous downward spiral and working to stem the rise in HIV/AIDS related deaths.
ImprovED is the core educational component for all of TRIAD’s in-school and extra-curricular programming. ImprovED is a South African Education Ministry-sanctioned life-skills curriculum in an increasing number of public high schools. After training with TRIAD’s Executive Director, Program Director, Director of Medical Education & other expert volunteers, an ImprovED troupe is equipped to facilitate ongoing school- or field-based interactive workshops. Using song, improvisational techniques, and real-world scenarios, ImprovED facilitators get kids out of their seats and up on their feet learning essential life skills and honing decision-making. Topics covered are culturally relevant, ranging from puberty and reproductive health to sexual abuse, and other subjects related to the transmission of HIV. The age-appropriate curricula also examine life skills such as self esteem, goal-setting, decision-making, and drug and alcohol abuse. ImprovED acts as a rehearsal for life for all program participants. TRIAD-certified, village-based Medical Educators continue to reinforce and elaborate on those core lessons after participants complete ImprovED workshops. These MEs serve as reliable resources and role models for participants, and strive to nurture trusting relationships with the orphans and vulnerable children with whom they work.