In the month of September 2018, several youth in St. Ignatius of Loyola at Kiwanja Cha Ndege Parish in Dodoma received a seminar on HIV and AIDS. Participants reflected on God’s love for man, disasters facing the world, sexually transmitted diseases and how youth could live responsibly to minimize new HIV infections.
About God’s love for man, the youth got the opportunity to reflect on the purpose for which they were created. The youth were reminded that God created man out of his love for him. And that man was given authority to care over the earth and everything in it. A quote from St. Ignatius of Loyola reminded the youth that the sole purpose for creation of man was to praise and glorify God and in so doing, save his soul. And that everything on earth was created for man so as to reach the ultimate goal for which man was created. Engaging the youth on this topic helped the youth understand that they were wonderfully created, loved and that God had a purpose for each of them on this earth.
Participants also reflected on various disasters facing the world such as war, hunger and diseases and how the youth could utilize the gift of the earth despite these disasters. This topic sought to create hope amongst the youth who often feel that they are defeated by challenges facing them at their respective environments. “When I also hear youth sharing experiences of their difficulties and how they are trying to overcome them, I also get encouraged to know that I am not alone” revealed one participant.
Finally, the youth were sensitized on sexually transmitted diseases such as Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Chancroid, HIV and AIDS. Participants were encouraged to take personal initiatives to get tested for HIV virus and the need to adhere on medication for those infected with HIV. “In this seminar, we have successfully sensitized our youth on HIV and AIDS but it will take their commitment to live according to how we have taught” said Joseph, one of the key facilitator of the seminar.
Weak involvement by the youth on HIV and AIDS dialogue, limited equipment to conduct HIV and AIDS seminars and poor logistics when conducting these seminars were cited as some of the challenges facing both the trainers and trainees on HIV and AIDS in Dodoma.
The youth seminar was conducted by Joseph Baraka Maingu and Flora William Pamba, who are facilitators and trainers on HIV and AIDS in Kituo Cha Ndege Parish.