SER meets with Aids Foundation

POSTED: 08/21/13 12:26 PM

St. Maarten – The board of the Social Economic Council (SER) met with representatives of the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation on Thursday. As the Social Economic Council continues to provide government with advice pertaining to matters of socio-economic nature, the board has taken the initiative to meet with various NGO’s, in an effort to gain better insight on their roles in our society.

The board of the SER was briefed on a number of activities carried out by the Aids Foundation.

Executive director of the foundation, Rae Merlet outlined some of the outreach and support programs of the foundation. The board was updated on the “Girl Power” program which was developed for teenage girls attending the various secondary schools. Girl Power focuses on gender equality and empowerment of young teenage girls. Treasurer Rajesh Chintaman stressed on the importance of another program named “Real Talk”, which will pilot later this year. A program that targets teenage boys, ”Real Talk” focuses on teaching youngsters; discipline, having a good attitude and problem solving. Information on safe sex practices and sexually transmitted infections are also shared with both groups.

The SER emphasized on the importance of working with our young people and commended the Aids Foundation for its efforts.  The foundation’s president Dr. Gerard van Osch highlighted the progress that’s being made with the free rapid HIV testing and its public awareness programs. Furthermore the SER was briefed on a number of topics ranging from counseling, care and treatment of HIV patients, cost of medicine for HIV/ Aids treatment and the plans to expand the foundation’s work to include overall sexual reproductive health  in the future.

The National HIV/ Aids Workplace policy from the department of labor was also discussed. The foundation stressed the importance for this policy to be implemented to provide a work environment that is free from harassment and/or discrimination for people living with HIV/ Aids.

Dr. Gerard van Osch also pointed out some of the challenges the foundation has encountered over the past years, mainly with its subsidy. The SER noted that this was indeed a point of concern and stressed on the importance that NGO’s should have sufficient access to funds. Without a proper subsidy the foundation stressed that it would become more difficult to consistently carry out certain projects and build on the gains already made against HIV/ Aids in our community.

In conclusion it was noted that the NGO’s together with the cooperation of businesses and government should continue to make a joint effort in the spirit of corporate social responsibility.

 

 

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