By Yadanar Aung, YWCA of Myanmar
Dear Mom and Dad,
Thank you so much for bringing me into this world. But I don’t know why I have to take medicine since I was young. Thank you for sending me to school but I do not know why you two always remind me every morning not to talk much with friends. Thank you for bringing me up at a very friendly neighborhood but I have no idea why I am not allowed to talk with them. Every evening, I saw the girls and boys who are same age of mine playing. Mom and Dad, why you two do not let me go outside just one day and have fun??What did I do wrong? Why am I treated like this? I did nothing, yes, absolutely nothing to get this infection.
Dear my neighbors and friends,
Will you hate me if you know that I have this infection though I absolutely did nothing to get it? Will you discriminate me? My head is going to explode and my heart ache whenever I think about it. I know you have knowledge that you cannot be infected by talking, playing together, hugging and eating together. But still, why you all so afraid to be my friend? Am I that scary? I am just a little girl who is friendly. Please do not forget that though I have this infection, I am still a human.
Dear health service providers,
Can you please give adolescent-girls friendly services for me? Since I am 12, these days I can feel and see the changes in my body. Can someone please give me counseling and explanation why these changes happened? OH! This morning, I found some blood stain on my panties, where can I find the friendly services for me to know why this happens, what to do and how to take care? I usually have bad nightmares since I took the medicine 8 years ago. Why?
Dear the government,
Can you please increase the health budget so that I can get better health care services which are affordable, accessible, acceptable, non-judgmental and with confidentiality ? There is no clinic near my home and I have to take trishaw and then car to go to the clinic to get my medicine. I have read that combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases is the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) goal 6, are you really implementing that goal? The theme of World AIDS day is getting to zero: zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths and I really wish and hope for that one day according to that theme.
Dear the civil society organisations,
Thank you for supplying me with medicine and nutrition. Moreover, thank you for sharing me information and network. Thank you for raising awareness of public that they should not be afraid but they can be our friends. Thank you for advocating the government to effectively implement the MDG goal 6.
Why are you down and lonely? It is not your fault that you got this infection. Today, you saw many friends at the adolescent girls’ dialogue on HIV organised by YWCA of Myanmar, right? You are not alone.
It is so good to talk freely and share my feelings with my friends, the feelings and questions that I never open up and ask my parents. I can feel that my friends also shared my feelings. I gained strength and encouraged that this is not the end of the world, together, we can support each other to reach our goal of “getting to zero”.
Dedicated to all the adolescent girl champions who are brave and have the strength to open up and share their feelings at “adolescent girls’ dialogue on HIV” on 28th June, 2014.
Filed under: Leadership