Guyanese HIV/AIDS cases attract US$20,000 World Bank funding

Kaieteur News
February 3, 2007

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The lives of 150 Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are expected to drastically improve following their exposure to techniques intended to improve their well-being.

This venture, according to Coordinator of the Art of Living (AOL) Foundation, Guyana Chapter, Ms Gitanjali Singh, will be undertaken through an intensive workshop which is a pilot project being funded by the World Bank to the tune of US$20,000.

Singh revealed that AOL workshops, which are referred to as ‘healing breath workshops', are instrumental in helping ordinary people without ailments rid themselves of stress which in some cases could have diverse effects on their health.

According to AOL teacher, Professor Varadaraja Shenoy of India , as the name of the workshop indicates, people are able to realise their ability to free their bodies of dangerous toxins through the simple technique of breathing.

He explained that within five to six days through yoga techniques one can learn to improve one's whole body system by harmonising and energising the body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego and soul.

A mere 35-minute exercise a day is needful to combat the build-up of stress which could lead to psycho-traumatic disorders, according to Professor Shenoy.

And it is against this therapeutic background that the AOL Foundation has formulated the proposal to streamline the initiative dubbed ‘healthier lifestyles for communities and PLWHA'. The programme is expected to last for the next 20 months.

According to Singh, PLWHA will be targeted through Lifeline Counselling Service and with Professor Shenoy's teaching, will be taught the healing breath techniques and how to live in the moment rather that focus on the future and/or the past, thus compelling their bodies to release stress.

Before commencing the process, the CD4 counts of the PLWHA will be taken, Singh said, and a subsequent test will be taken after the conclusion of the healing breath workshops to determine if there has been a change in the patients' condition.

However, Singh emphasised that while the aim of the initiative is to boost the health of the PLWHA they will not be dissuaded from using their regular medications.

In addition to the intensive healing workshops for PLWHA, Singh said that Professor Shenoy will also conduct other workshops at the Umana Yana for anyone desirous of gaining the ability to rid themselves of stress.

Those workshops, according to Singh, will include sessions to teach people how to avoid discriminating against PLWHA.

The AOL Foundation first came to Guyana in 2003 and more than 500 people were exposed to the healing breath workshops. Follow-up healing breath workshops will be held during professor Shenoy's one-month stay here while another aspect targeting youths will also be included.

Singh said that efforts will be made to instil leadership skills, positive train of thoughts and a sense of responsibility in youths.

The programme will target people in Regions Three, Four, Five and Six.

The AOL Foundation is a non-profit organisation and has presence in more than 140 countries. It is dedicated to serving society by strengthening individuals by offering programmes that eliminate stress, creating belongingness, restoring human values and encouraging people from various backgrounds, religion and cultural traditions to come together in celebration and service.

It is one of the largest volunteer-based NGOs and is also one of the most multi-faceted organisations in the world.

It works in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.