JKH’s Ivan inspires over 10,000 on HIV prevention

Saturday, 13 August 2011 00:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Security Manager of Cinnamon Lodge Habarana and Chaaya Village Habarana Ivan Perera has been a master trainer in HIV and AIDS awareness.

While the mandate was to extend the programme to civil society, Ivan’s idea was to introduce the concept of the programme to people in the military – “commanding officers, soldiers, and nurses so that they would understand what we wanted to achieve and how deeply relevant it was to them.”

He completed his 50th awareness programme on 4 August 2011 at the Army Training School, Pompemadu, Mannar. The two sessions held on the same day increased the total of educated members to 10,521.

Ivan joined John Keells Hotels in 2000, as he was compelled to leave the Sri Lankan Army in 1997 due to multiple injuries. After 14 years of service in the Army, Ivan knew that he would pave the way to serve the Army in a different manner, and today he has achieved the ambitious target he set to educate over 10,000 members.

Asked about his interest in creating awareness about HIV and AIDS in the Sri Lankan Army, Ivan stated: “I knew that there was very little knowledge about HIV in the Army and I knew this needed to be addressed urgently.”

Out of the 51 awareness programmes that Ivan has conducted, he stated that the most memorable moment was when he conducted the programme in Welikanda for over 1,500 in a rehabilitation camp in LTTE Rehabilitation Centre Triconamadu. His main objective was to extend friendship to the members so that they would feel comfortable to ask questions and interact.

Ivan’s intention is to make them understand that it could happen to them and though he does not insist that they abstain, he encourages the members to use precaution. He is confident that the people he has trained will not take the risk that would make them HIV positive.

Ivan is grateful to the John Keells Social Responsibility Foundation for giving him the opportunity and the training needed to achieve this ambitious target.