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Haso members better equipped to provide psychosocial support   |06 December 2021

Haso members better equipped to provide psychosocial support   

Participants of the training programme in a souvenir photograph after receiving their certificate (Photo: Jude Morel)

The HIV and Aids Support Organisation (Haso) on Saturday awarded participants who have completed a training programme in offering psychosocial support, facilitated by psychologist and consultant Benjamin Vel.

It was in a brief ceremony held at the Carrefour des Arts that the participants and organisers gathered for the presentation.

The training was conducted on August 28, and additional days during the month of September, with a focus on empowering participants to provide services based on the needs of the clients which they serve.

“In the training we taught participants the different types of support that we can offer. For most people, when they think of psychosocial support they automatically think counselling, but we have said that in addition to counselling, educating them about life, different abilities. We are working with persons with HIV or addicts so it also includes things like hygiene, self-care, self-management, and making references to professional services and such. The main idea behind it is to provide a comprehensive service which takes into consideration the person in totality, and not just specific to them being HIV positive or a recovering addict. They might need information about how to get into employment, how to write up a CV, interview skills and such, so the training looks at the entire being, all their needs and offering them a service based on their needs,” Mr Vel noted.  

Chief executive of the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (Ceps), Alvin Laurence, thanked Haso for its efforts in building capacity of members to better cater to persons infected with HIV/Aids in Seychelles, and to help raise awareness.

“Your training is another level, it is not just a matter of learning the theory, but it is about how to apply it as this is when you make a real difference, whether at work, in our surroundings, and with our family. We can support people and let them know that they walk not alone, but that you have been equipped to afford them the support, to accompany them, so that despite life’s difficulties, and despite the fact that they may find themselves as a victim today, there is support, facilities and most importantly, through the way we treat each other is what will stop the stigmatisation.”

“Your psychosocial training is not just intended to have you understand someone’s mind and accompany them, but to empower your entourage to be more comfortable so we can live better with one another,” Mr Laurence pronounced, encouraging Haso members.

In addition to completing the psychosocial support course, programme coordinator at Haso, Tessy Madeleine, was remitted with an additional two certificates, after having completed two online courses, namely, ‘Advocating for and Monitoring Safe Abortion Care in Sub-Saharan Africa’ which she completed online between May 10 and June 18 and ‘Comprehensive Sexuality Education for Teacher Educators’, also followed online and which she completed in November.

She noted that Haso is trying to recruit more youths in the organisation to help make a difference and end stigmatisation faced by persons living with HIV/Aids.

“Haso would like to recruit many more persons, but persons with HIV/Aids still suffer from stigmatisation and discrimination. That is why many sufferers do not want to disclose that they are HIV positive because of the stigmatisation.  Therefore, we need to ensure that persons are able to maintain a certain level of confidentiality, and who are compassionate about the cause,” Ms Madeleine said.

“For instance, when we are working with recovering addicts, it is not easy as they engage in risky behaviours so one needs to know how to support them. Therefore, one needs to be compassionate, caring and understanding.”

Haso started operating in 1991, but was formally registered in 1995. The civil society organisation channels its efforts towards; reducing the national incident of HIV/Aids and protect the rights of people infected and affected by HIV/Aids: educate the public in awareness as to HIV/Aids transmission and related diseases and to support and assist infected persons and their family among others.

The not-for-profit organisation regularly organises training sessions for members, and institutions engaging with the target group. Online training courses are offered in collaboration with regional partnership of over 90 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Aids and Rights Alliance for South Africa (Arasa).


Laura Pillay


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