Voices of HIV & AIDS-affected educators: how they are psychosocially affected and how REds enabled their resilience
Theron, Linda Carol
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The aim of this article is to hear the voices of HIV- and AIDS-affected educators regarding their experiences of the psychosocial effect that the HIV and AIDS pandemic has on them as well as to voice their experiences of how Resilient Educators (REds), a support programme to enable educators affected by HIV and AIDS towards resilience, enabled them. A qualitative study was undertaken with 100 affected educators from different provinces in South Africa. Open-ended questionnaires were used to collect data prior to and after exposure to REds. The results suggested that the pandemic had a devastating effect not only at a professional level, but also at all the personal levels of educators’ well-being, namely, at an emotional, spiritual, physical and social level. However, the results also indicated that REds empowered them to cope more resiliently with the overwhelming personal and professional impacts of living and teaching in an HIV- and AIDS-altered milieu. It thus seems as if REds, as an empowering programme, has the potential to become a valuable protective resource in an educational context that is HIV-lacerated.