It has been a great learning for the team, social workers and volunteers at Buds of Christ and NGOs working with children to understand loss, grief and bereavement from a group of experts from Singapore KK Women and Children Hospital who were here at Tiruchengode from 5th September to 9th September 2014. The workshop was conducted as part of capacity building of Buds of Christ by Singapore International Foundation (www.sif.org.sg).
In this workshop the key topics dealt were understanding what is meant by loss, grief, bereavement in the context of HIV and AIDS. As Buds of Christ focuses primarily among children and their care takers mostly widowed women, the sessions were also handled in these specific areas.
In addition, the new concept of motivational interviewing and the tools that are used during the process was also shared during this workshop. This is to help young people be better adherers to treatment and for the counsellors to explore and support the lives of those in need.
Feedback and Reflections:
Often we perceive grief with loss due to death only, but one thing we learnt is that any kind of loss can cause grief. Now this helped us realise that HIV could also be perceived as a loss of health among children and adolescents, especially when they have to take the life-long medication. So assurance and support should be a continuous process.
I learnt that, even small children experience grief, and it is important we spend time and help them cope with the loss .
Motivational interviewing helped us realize using the positive techniques in the helping process can be more encouraging in becoming better adherers to treatment process.
The adolescents (volunteer and Buds leaders) and child based agencies in Salem and Namakkal district also felt well equipped with information and skills to handle young people in this area.
Buds of Christ and our children express our special thanks to Sylvia Mun, Joanne, Sok Hwee and Liwen for equipping us through their experiences and knowledge to serve the children under our care better.