Contributed by Monica Grover, Global Fund For Children
What can you do with your life experiences? The painful ones, the hardships or loss? How can you make things better, for yourself and for others in the same circumstance? You can share your story – like Tini, a young woman from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, who lost her parents to AIDS.
“I think my dad and mom were like many other people with AIDS,” says Tini, “deserving to be cared for, assisted, and in particular respected by everyone in the community.” She reflects that, unfortunately, they were “isolated, and considered as rubbish… They were normal citizens like others but living with AIDS disease. However, they did not do anything harmful at all. Normally, if some people with the disease do something dangerous to others, they feel world-weary. I understand that feeling because I am among the stigma’s victims.”
Growing up an orphan and estranged from neighbors, Tini “gave up all my faith in life.” Eventually, she found compassion, hope, and friends through the Smile Group, an organization that provides support to youth affected by HIV/AIDS. The Smile Group participates in Adobe Youth Voices, giving Tini the opportunity to work with Photoshop and film-making software, and to transpose her experiences into media she can show others. Tini was raised by her grandmother, who lives for her and takes joy in her success. With the knowledge and technical skills she has gained, she made a video about her life entitled “My Grandma.” In melancholy tones, this video lays bare their struggles together as well as the many reasons for hope.
It meant the world to Tini to be able to capture these reasons for hope and share them with people who would take heart. It helped restore her. As she explains, “thanks to the supports, loves and good cares from some social groups, I could stand up and continue living with my trust and optimism in my life. I never hate my parents as they gave birth, bringing me into this world. So I love them deeply for their mistakes that have made them go far away.”
To “create with purpose” is the mission of Adobe Youth Voices. In her corner of the world, pursuing her goals to educate the community and change people’s conceptions of those affected by AIDS, Tini embodies this mission. “I want to do something simple so that people in my community would have a different objective look to AIDS people,” she explains, so that “hopefully children in the same suffering and sorrowful situation like me could live positive and optimistically.”