Abandonment, loss, and the independence that followed prepared Andile for the difficult choices he would later make as a young adult. When he fathered a child with his girlfriend, her parents accepted him. And when he tested positive for HIV, his girlfriend pledged to be true to him, no matter what. He now finds solace in a support group and encourages other men to know their status and protect their partners.
Many people who test positive for HIV share concerns that they will be rejected by loved ones, when in fact partners are often very supportive and understanding. Andile’s story presents an opportunity to explore how people cope with life’s difficult challenges in a way that enables them to be active in their communities.
Sonke works with many communities to use storytelling and digital media to help people tell their own stories around gender, violence, HIV and AIDS and related issues.
Sonke partnered with Silence Speaks to enable young people and adults affected by violence and HIV and AIDS to share their stories. Other digital stories have been produced with former prisoners who experienced sexual violence in jail. And the MenEngage African Youth Alliance and Sonke partnered with UNFPA to produce “Youth Stories of Change” along with a discussion guide and other resources.
Through intensive, participatory video production workshops, Sonke is bringing rarely-heard voices and images into the civic arena. Our hope is that by highlighting everyday stories, we will deepen existing conversations about gender norms and health issues, as well as empower the storytellers and their communities.
Click here to download a facilitator’s guide, discussion guides and other Digital Stories resources to assist in the use of these tools in your community.
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