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HIV/AIDS sufferers will benefit from the expansion of the Lao Buddhism Association's Metta Tham project outside the Vientiane metropolitan area, Venerable Vichit Singhalath said yesterday.

Metta Tham sends monks to visit the homes of people infected with HIV and AIDS, to provide them with rice, clothes and herbal medicines to relieve the symptoms of the disease.

The project is being introduced in the provinces of Savannakhet, Champassak, Khammuan, Saravan, Xayaboury, Oudomxay and Vientiane this year.

“Some people don't come to temples, so the monks go to visit them at home,” Venerable Vichit said.

The programme provides assistance and moral support, but also teaches work-oriented skills such as handicraft production. Being able to generate their own income means people with HIV/AIDS can be lifted from poverty and social isolation.

The project works in cooperation with the Centre for HIV/AIDS and other organisations to identify people infected with the disease and offer them assistance, he said.

In line with their traditional role as teachers, the monks decided they could also educate people about the realities of HIV/AIDS. Project staff first instructed the monks on HIV/AIDS issues and then equipped them with the necessary tools to help affected families and effectively prevent further transmission.

A crucial part of the training involves close contact between the monks and the victims, which includes monks having to accept and eat alms food prepared by people with HIV/AIDS, Venerable Vichit said.

He said Laos , Vietnam , Thailand , Cambodia , Southern China, Mongolia and Myanmar had similar activities that used monks as vehicles of support for AIDS-affected families.

The Lao and Vietnamese Buddhist Associations met in Vientiane on October 10 last year to share information on educating people infected with HIV/AIDS.

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update July 23, 2008)

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Anonymous

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motana saa tou , good job

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