Story of Yumelina – Learning to prevent HIV in Indonesia

Indonesia Community Story

Yumelina Tabuni is a confident and outgoing 13-year-old girl. She lives with her family in a small village in the Baliem valley, a remote mountainous area of Papua. Every week she attends a life skills session, where young people learn how to protect themselves from HIV and AIDS.

 “I didn’t understand what HIV was and why people died from it. I wanted to learn more,” Yumelina says. “Now I know how HIV is transmitted – through sex, needles and blood transfusion – and also how it is not transmitted. We’ve been taught about condoms and how to protect ourselves from HIV. I’m happy that I have this knowledge.”

 The village is in a striking landscape with lush green valleys between forested and mist-covered mountainsides. A line of thatched-roof huts climbs the hillside above a wide brown river. Women walk down the road, carrying sacks of sweet potatoes on straps around their foreheads. Pigs wander between the huts.

 Yumelina attends high school in a nearby village and has three siblings. Her parents are farmers. They keep pigs and grow several types of crop, including the local staple sweet potato. “I like going to Sunday school and playing football with my friends in the afternoon,” she says. “I play midfield. My favourite football team is Persiwa Wamena.”