I got into NGO work right after graduating from college. I had passed the Nurses’ Licensure Examinations but I hadn’t received my professional license because I was under-age so I signed up as a volunteer HIV/AIDS telephone counselor to while away the time. This same NGO became my first employer a few months later. If one looks at my career timeline, one would see that I have always worked in non-governmental organizations (NGO) and intermittently worked in media outfits (a TV station, a newspaper, and the publishing arm of an esoteric institute). One friend confided that he wouldn’t be surprised if one day I’d set up my own NGO.
Fast forward to about 2011. I had just returned from and almost 7-year stay in Cambodia to find that many of my friends have gotten infected with HIV. One particular friend had been keenly observing and taking notes of the service gaps that he and his other friends have been experiencing since becoming a recipient of HIV-related clinical services. He shared his experiences to me and we agreed that something needed to be done. However, after that initial talk, our individual lives took over and it wasn’t until last year that we were finally able to sit down and firmly decide that yes, let’s do this.
Being the NGO veterans that we are, we proceeded to do a series of consultations with people we knew and those we felt could provide us with valuable input. We developed our concept paper. We invited some of these people to be involved in the yet-unnamed organization that we were setting up either a part of the Board of Trustees or as volunteers. We decided on calling the organization HIV/AIDS Support House or HASH.
Just a few weeks ago we were finally able to convene a viable Board of Trustees, comprised of like-minded individuals who are experts in their own fields (relating to HIV/AIDS and sexual health). My friend stepped up as the Chief Executive Officer while I became the Board Chair. Last week we conducted our first ever Strategic Planning Workshop where we set our Vision and Mission, along with our strategic themes and goals for the next 3 years. Next week we will do another workshop to come up with an operational plan for our initial year. Fast exciting times. We’re fired up and optimistic.
Our Vision is to be the leading provider of psycho-social support to MSM/TG who are diagnosed with HIV in the Philippines.
Our Mission is providing appropriate age and gender sensitive and non-judgmental psycho-social support services to MSM/TG who have been diagnosed with HIV.
For now, please visit our Facebook page HERE, “like” it and receive notifications from us.