A chat with Emily Price, Global Awareness Volunteer 2010 on her way to Nigeria
Hi Emily! First of all, can you introduce yourself, where you are from, what you do?
Hey! My name is Emily. I’m from Clare, but I’m off to Nigeria in 21 days! I’m working as a primary school teacher and can’t wait to share this experience with everyone when I come home!
I’m so excited about the amazing experience I’ve been offered! I was lucky enough to volunteer in India several years ago, and can’t wait to have, what I’m sure will be, another humbling and eye-opening experience. I feel really lucky to have been chosen to become involved with EIL. I’m really excited about the work which I will become involved with on return. I feel that my commitment to the organization will focus all my energy and make this opportunity really worthwhile.
Why did you decide to apply for this programme and what are you expecting from this volunteer experience?
I believe that education and action are vital elements to carry about positive global changes for people living with HIV and AIDS. I feel that the opportunity to travel to Nigeria will both educate me in this global issue and, provide me with a first step in taking action. In gaining this first hand experience, I will be enabled to share my stories with others on return and encourage people to take action and to challenge the stigma and stereotypes which face people living with HIV and AIDS.
I think it is more about global change than personal. I have no doubt that I will hear many touching and harrowing life stories while abroad. I also look forward to learning from local people, how they are working together to deal with this epidemic. I hope that in sharing these stories that people will realize the social as well as the medical, consequences facing people living with HIV and AIDS. I can’t wait to experience the rich diverseness of Nigerian life and above all to connect with the people I meet there!
On your return to Ireland, you will be leading an Awareness Raising Campaign. What do you think about making your community more aware of HIV&AIDS issues? How important do you think public action is?
I am extremely excited about the prospect of becoming involved with the awareness raising campaign. I feel that this will be the most worthwhile aspect of my volunteering experience. It seems to me that one of the greatest challenge facing people living with HIV and AIDS in Ireland at present is the stigma which they face from the general public. Upon my return, I intend to use the knowledge I’ve gained from my trip to work to eliminate the stigma and the associated misconceptions about HIV & AIDS among those I meet through education.
I feel that we can and should show solidarity towards the millions living with HIV and AIDS in the world by becoming informed. Education is key in challenging the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS, and also in reducing the transmission of the virus. I believe that we have a duty to use our voice to influence government policies, to inform our friends and to treat our brothers and sisters all over the world with the dignity and respect that we wish for ourselves. I hope to work towards a future where we can create an environment of hope and acceptance for people living with HIV and AIDS.