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The most important thing is their dignity and value as human beings, the great creation of God.

Fr Paul

180,000 children are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS in Thailand*

Due to stigma, lack of awareness and education of HIV/AIDS, many families’ conditions are left unknown or untreated. This often leaves parents unable to care for their children and, in some cases, they pass on the infection at birth.

Fr Paul Suphakorn Khantharaksa, Director of the Camillian Social Centre in Rayong, Thailand, is all too familiar with the impact that HIV/AIDS has on children’s health and their sense of identity.

“First of all, they could realise that they are human beings with dignity and value, the same as other people in society.”

His vision for the Centre goes beyond the treatment and recovery of children affected by HIV/AIDS. As well as a safe place for them to regain their dignity, he also hopes that the Centre will be a catalyst in addressing the current lack of knowledge and misunderstanding on HIV/AIDS in the community.

The Centre not only provides a safe and loving home for children who are orphaned and affected by HIV/AIDS but offers a holistic approach to care, including access to education, health care and mental and spiritual support.

*reference: UNAIDS 2021

“My life here at the Centre… I have the opportunity to… garden, study, get HIV treatment, receive warm care, and gain a lot of knowledge and trainings from the Centre.”

Kiet

Kiet is one of the many children left to the care of the Camillian Social Centre.

Born to parents infected with HIV whose conditions were left untreated, they tragically passed in the early years of Kiet’s life, leaving him to the care of his grandparents.

Four years later, Kiet was becoming frequently ill, experiencing loss of appetite and extreme weight loss. With no improvements, staff of his local municipality visited him in his home, saw his condition, and immediately admitted him to the local hospital.

Upon examination, Kiet and his grandparents were informed of the reality of his illness.

“Kiet is HIV positive,” they were told.

Unfortunately for Kiet, his grandparents were unable to provide for his extensive needs and ensure his health. Falling ill and being admitted to the hospital a second time, social workers contacted the Camillian Social Centre.

The work of Fr Paul and the staff at the Camillian Social Centre is vital. Without their dedication, children like Kiet would continue to suffer and, in many cases, have their lives cut short.

As Christmas approaches, will you spread the joy of the season to children who are orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS?


*Name altered to protect identity

We hope that our centre shall be the bridge of hope for them, [to] make them stand firm with[in] themselves before the ending of HIV/AIDS.

Fr Paul

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