I've been getting quite a few calls for the past few days relating to my NGO work - a few came in through our hotline number while a few direct on my personal hand phone.
As mentioned in my previous posting, last Tuesday, a university student called, asking for info on HIV/AIDS and TS. I passed her the number of our vice-chairman who's involved with outreach work as I thought he'd have more info on TS, but after talking to the student, he figured she'd get more reliable info from other NGO's dealing direct with TS. So he gave her their contact particulars.
On Thursday morning, another call came in through our hotline number. It was from a lady who called on behalf of her employers. They were planning to hold a talk for their foreign employees on the topic of HIV/AIDS, safe sex etc. They have quite a number of Indonesians and Vietnamese in their workforce. I guess this talk will have to be held in Manglish. I told the lady to inform us in black and white, either by fax or email, so that we can make the necessary arrangements. At the same time I also told her not to give us short notice as we may not be able to get any of the volunteers to do the talk.
On my way home from work the same day, a call came in on my personal hand phone. The call was from a member of the Perak Women for Women Association (PWW). I gave a talk last year to members of PWW - explaining to them on what we Buddies do, and since at that time we didn't have our hotline number yet, I gave them my personal number. PWW focuses on empowering women, and they wanted to organize a talk for women particularly those with problem marriages, so she wanted to find out if any of our HIV clients may be interested to join. Well, some of the HIV women under my charge who are still married, have problems getting the necessary "visa" from their husbands to attend any functions - even for our family day, so it'll be a tough task for me to coax them to join. And while the talk would also be suitable for single mothers, it was rather short notice. She called me on Thursday and the talk was on Saturday. The PWW lady had actually wanted to meet up with me to discuss things further - so maybe we can make arrangements to hold similar talks later; but that Thursday afternoon I had to drive to KL. And Friday was out too because I wasn't sure what time I'd be back from KL. Next week she won't be around - so I just told her to call me when she's free later.
On Friday morning I brought my mother to Putrajaya Hospital for her follow-up appointment (after her knee surgery last year). While waiting for my mother's supply of medication at the pharmacy, a call came in from a Penang number. A guy introduced himself from Community AIDS Services Penang (CASP) and he wanted to discuss about holding a joint event amongst northern partner organisations of the Malaysian AIDS Council to commemorate this year's International AIDS Memorial Day (IAMD) in May. The line wasn't so clear - and in addition to that people around me were talking, so it wasn't really convenient for me to talk then, so I asked him to call me later in the afternoon.
I just got home (yes, back in Ipoh) when he called me again. I asked him what they had in mind for the northern region IAMD, but according to him they don't have plans yet. They intend to call the various partner organisations from the northern region for a first meeting next Sunday, and from then on they will set up a steering committee to get things going. He also told me that someone from MAC suggested that maybe for logistics purposes, we may want to join KL's event; and that it's up to us to decide.
I am not too sure yet myself if we're joining either group. Last year we joined forces with the Perak Family Health Association to hold an exhibition at Ipoh Parade. It's easier because both organisations operate in Ipoh. Joining either the central group or the northern group means we will need to travel outstation. Any decision we make will have to be discussed in our Board meeting, and the next Board meeting will be the last Tuesday of this month - and that's after our AGM.
Whatever it is, getting all these calls is a good thing. Those who called for info or wanting us to give talks on HIV/AIDS means awareness is indeed spreading. And the calls from PWW and CASP show that our networking is also expanding. That, to me, is a good sign for better things ahead. At least I hope so...