Ashoka and Nike’s Changemaker competition is asking the public to vote for their favorite finalist who is using football for social change.
Because of the high level of social stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS in Indonesia, the country already has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in Asia, and it is difficult for the estimated 333,200 Indonesians living with HIV to reveal their status. If stigmatized further, HIV will continue to spread, not only within populations of drug users and sex workers, but into the general population as well.
The Rumah Cemara Football Programme was created to break this cycle of stigma, and stop the spread of HIV, in Indonesia by hosting weekly football matches across West Java province that engage both HIV-positive and HIV-negative players.
The programme’s impact on people already living with HIV has been significant. Over the past two years, 100 people living with HIV have played regularly on the Rumah Cemara team and on the five additional teams they have helped to form across West Java, including two teams based at provincial prisons. Playing with Rumah Cemara increases the players' confidence, motivation, and ability to live a healthy life with HIV.
LANGUAGE OF FOOTBALL
"Our idea is unique because it successfully engages everyday Indonesians, many who are at risk of contracting HIV or already living with HIV, in HIV prevention and anti-stigma efforts," explains Aditia Taslim, who serves Rumah Cemara as keeper on the field, and grants manager off the field, “Rather than approach the public with the controversial language of HIV and AIDS, we use a universal language that is accepted around the world. It is the language of football."
Rumah Cemara was selected as a finalist from nearly 300 organisations across 60 nations worldwide who use football for social change, and is the only Finalist from the Asian region. If selected as a winner, Rumah Cemara will use the prize of up to $30,000 to increase the number of teams and number of weekly players in the programme, from HIV positive and HIV negative communities, as well as from professional football teams. By 2012, Rumah Cemara aims to have transformed the programme into a formal, recognised Provincial Football League of people living with HIV, also serving as a forum for HIV education. Rumah Cemara also hopes to add at least four female teams to its currently all-male league.
"Winning the Ashoka Changemakers Competition will allow us to develop our existing football programme in order to solve the greater problem of stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS in Indonesia", says Ginan, programme manager of Rumah Cemara and captain of the football team. "As our number of participants increases and our reputation becomes better known, our football teams can make Indonesian society more comfortable with and capable of discussing HIV and AIDS and protecting against the spread of HIV, while ensuring respect for the rights of people already living with HIV."
Please vote for Rumah Cemara before 18 August. You can vote online here. When you select Rumah Cemara you will be asked for a few basic details to register, before a confirmation email is sent to you. You need to click the link in the email to confirm your vote.
You can read more about the team in: Rumah Cemara – they’re football crazy!
our football teams can make Indonesian society more capable of protecting against the spread of HIV