Master trainers at work! Volunteering for HIV/AIDS awareness

By Ivan Perera

A human being’s prime responsibility should be to serve other human beings. We as humans have the ability to think and make decisions, we should always use that ability to help and serve mankind and our environment without expecting anything in return.

Bearing the above in mind, I volunteered to be a Master Trainer for the HIV & AIDS Awareness programme conducted by John Keells Foundation. I first attended an awareness session in year 2009 conducted by Mr. Nalinda Liyanage, who is currently the Manager at Cinnamon Dhonveli, Maldives and he encouraged the participants to volunteer as Master Trainers in a session conducted by Dr. Indra Hettiaarachchi. A person shared a true life experience on HIV & AIDS and that’s when I decided that I will take this message to society and somehow make a change in people’s lives! Mr. Chaminda Samaranayake who is now at Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa, Maldives, nominated me as a Master Trainer which I accepted whole heartedly.

Whilst I enjoy being a Master Trainer for HIV & AIDS, it is a very challenging role to play! I can recall a session in a village in Jaffna, held at a school opposite a kovil. I was faced with a lot of logistical issues, including the laptop and projector malfunctioning due to power fluctuations in the area. The superstitious members from the audience claimed that it was due to some divine intervention! I did not give up. I managed to do the programme without the presentation slides and the audience really appreciated it!

My colleagues ask me how I manage the responsibilities in my job role as well as the work related to being a HIV & AIDS Master Trainer. It’s all about dedication and making time to prepare for programmes. It helps that I genuinely care about helping people and that motivates me.  We all work for the number one company in Sri Lanka that gives us the opportunity to participate in their activities carried out with the hope of empowering the nation for tomorrow. When you see for yourself, how us, the Master Trainers, have impacted the beneficiaries, there is a sense of personal fulfilment. So I urge all the readers to come forward and join hands with JKF and take this valuable message to every corner of society.

Apart from the personal satisfaction which I gain I also received three Special Awards at Volunteer Recognition Day in year 2013, 2015 and 2016 for reaching the milestones of sensitizing 20 000, 30 000 and 40 000 people respectively.  I honestly cannot express my feelings in words, as I am very happy and proud to educate over 40,000 Sri Lankans on HIV & AIDS.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Ghazzali Mohideen, Mr. Sanjeeva Perera, Mr. Marlon Robert and the members of John Keells Foundation. I wouldn’t have come this far without their support and guidance.  I’m truly proud to be a member of John Keells Group and a Master Trainer for HIV & AIDS.