As per The Himalayan Times report, about 39,249 people were living with HIV positive in 2015 in Nepal according to National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (Himalayan 2015). With this huge number of people suffering from such conditions, the need for social welfare and community engagement becomes necessary for the youth to take up to help society advance along with them. Having this belief, I volunteered for community service in Lumbini Plus, a Non Government Organization in Nawalparsi area. My job responsibility in the organization was to provide counselling to youth adolescent who were suffering from the condition of HIV Positive. During my service period in the organization I got an opportunity of learning the behaviour and psychology of the patients and understand their illness in a way an outsider may not be able to understand. I had to face a few challenges while understanding and tackling the youth as they were going through the condition at a very early stage of their lives and had thus become very rigid at such small ages. These youth often faced rejection from the society and the students in the school they go to (Neupane et al. 2012). This creates a huge turmoil in their emotional being which makes their conditions worst. Apart from providing medical assistance and counselling, I had to also make sure that they feel positive about themselves despite being ill-treated from the society. Being positive would make them also respond positively to the treatment provided to them.
In the initial stage of my volunteer service at Lumbini, when one of the children came to me for counselling, he was too reluctant to speak up about his physical as well as emotional problems. Being new at my job, I was also initially not able to push him too far to open up and discuss what was in his mind. Though I have always had confident on myself of being an empathic person who can easily make someone speak up, but here I myself was nervous and couldn’t understand how to deal with the child who is going through such trauma at this stage in his life. However, to overcome such situation in future, I formulated a set of questions with the help of a senior which can help me and my patient break the ice and get him more comfortable with me. This helped me with all my cases during the service. Another surprising event was when one of the patients expected me to be his doctor and cure the disease. The patient had opened up quite well with me on emotional grounds and could find comfort while talking to me. The set of medical assistance provided by me also helped him heal the maximum it could. Due to these reasons, he expected me to treat the illness out of him and make him healthy and disease free once again. He believed that I could cure him hundred percent. However, I had to eventually make him understand the limitations of my job and that I was no doctor but a mere counsellor. I was surprised to see how faith in someone can make you believe in the person beyond limitations. This situation changed my belief and compelled me to think about it.
During my tenure at Lumbini, I developed various skills which would help me in the future. I learned the various behavioural dynamics of the people I worked with and also of those I counselled. It gave me a better understand of human behaviour. I also developed the skill of empathy while working in this organization. Without empathy, one cannot understand and help another person (Thoma, Friedmann and Suchan 2013). It is a great skill to help one work in team and handle others. I also learned how to influence other human being’s emotional health and actions positively. Though it is a challenging task to counsel people suffering with such disease. While counselling them, the patient’s negative emotions are also communicated to the counsellor and it becomes difficult for the counsellor to keep a check on his emotions by the end of the day. This is one of the challenges faced by me during my volunteering tenure. Other challenges were the lack of management and coordination in the organization which sometimes led to ambiguity in roles of various counsellors and assistants in the organization.
Lumbini Plus, the non government organization which deals with the people of Nawalparsi district suffering from HIV positive, was founded back in 2005. Since then it has been treating all the patients in the district in collaboration with National Association of People livening with HIV and AIDS. Its mission is to minimise the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the society and the members of the families already affected and also to reintegrate the patients in the society through creating awareness in the society, providing psychological counselling, treatment, rehabilitation and means to generate income to the patients and their families (napn.org.np 2017). According to Kathmandu post, a local newspaper, in 2015, it was reported that in Nawalparsi alone, 43 children, 243 males and 251 females where suffering from HIV positive. These huge numbers of people were given support through this organization. The organization also created awareness about the disease being transferred to children born from suffering mothers and also adopted means to prevent the transmission of disease. The organization provides service of HIV testing through 21 units in the district making it one of the biggest (Kathmandupost 2015). The better technology and accessibility has given it an upper hand in the society. However, the organization needs to work upon it management and shall avoid any ambiguity in the role of the counsellors and doctors working in their treatment centres. The patients shall not have to change rooms after another looking for the right doctor who can provide them with the required treatment. This would in turn maximise the number of people turning up for the treatment as they would feel there is lesser hassle in getting the treatment (Poudel et al. 2012). Also the anonymity of the person coming for the treatment shall also be maintained in order to people feeling more comfortable in the society.
While working in the organization, I learnt how to engage with the society on ground level. I worked with people on one to one basis and worked out a plan which was suitable to an individual. This gave me an insight to human behaviour and emotions. It helped me understand and handle them better in order to achieve mine as well as help them achieve their goals pertaining to a particular task. On humanitarian grounds, it has also helped understand that no individual or an organization operates alone; it has to keep in mind the well being of its society and the people affected by its actions. This experience would help me apply various human resource learning developed by me in my future organization. Rather than focussing on my personal goals only, I’d try helping my colleagues and my team achieve their goals along with me while achieving the overall organizational gaols. It will help me built a better team where i can continually persuade my employees to work better and help them with their problems in order to motivate them better. This shall help them develop the sense of belonging in the organization and give their hundred percent efforts in the company. A good and empathic leader and manager can help built a strong and efficient team of employees.
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