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At a glance: Lao People's Democratic Republic

Buddhist monks use art to teach compassion about HIV/AIDS

© Venerable Sivone Thonedouang
Buddhism teaches that the highly evolved person has 4 characteristics: love, compassion, good will and equanimity. Designed by Venerable Sivone Thonedouang.
VIENTIANE, 23 December 2004 - Monks at the Buddhist College in Vientiane, the capital of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, have developed a series of posters aimed at spreading love and compassion for people living with HIV and AIDS, while addressing the stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease.

The posters are the centerpiece of an advocacy campaign called, "Buddhist Compassion: Hope and Help for people living with HIV and AIDS" that is supported by UNICEF and conducted by the Lao Buddhist Fellowship Organization and Metta Dhamma, an HIV/AIDS project originated by the Buddhist monks themselves.

While Lao PDR has a much lower rate of HIV prevalence than neighbouring countries, it has a high level of vulnerability to the virus. Poverty and unemployment are pushing young people from secluded rural communities to seek work in urban areas or over the border. Those who contract the HIV virus, though small in number, face the grim realities of poverty and discrimination.

Buddhist monks hope the posters will encourage the Laotian people to show love, compassion, good will and equanimity to all, especially those living with HIV and AIDS.



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