Ajarn Street

Take part in a school film tour

New film highlights the stigma associated with HIV-infected orphans in Thai

It's almost beyond comprehension; being born with a deadly disease, losing both of your parents at an early age, and then being abandoned by your extended family. This was the dire situation that confronted a group of children from Lopburi province that are featured in the new film 'Living with the Tiger'

Instead of the depressing and predictable images often associated with HIV & AIDS, the film's alternative approach shows an inspiring group of children that have been changing people's attitudes both towards the disease and those who are infected.

The filmmakers are planning a 3-month tour of schools and universities in Thailand and would like to hear from ajarn.com teachers who are interested in bringing the film to their school. The aim is to highlight the stigma associated with HIV and to provide students with more information. Each screening will be followed by a discussion and Q & A session.

The children in the film live in a rural village known as Baan Gerda, where they are loved and cared for in family-style homes. The upbeat atmosphere and their zest for life hides the suffering experienced in the early days.

The film focuses on two of the kids as they take an emotional journey back to the families that had once left them to die at a hospice. Some of the family members are even shocked to see that the children are still alive.

The story is framed by the children's performance in a specially written opera, composed by Bruce Gaston, and performed to audiences in Bangkok and the countryside. It shows their early attempts at playing musical instruments and acting, through to the finale and a major concert in Khon Kaen.

The film tour and outreach campaign is being sponsored so there is no cost to the school. Dates are limited so contact them quickly if you think your school might be interested in arranging a screening. Priority is initially being given to schools and universities that already have existing social responsibility activities.

A preliminary screening has been organised at the New International School of Thailand on Tuesday 7th June at 6.30pm at its 300-seat theatre. Director/producer Mike Thomas will take part in a post screening discussion and will be joined by students from the 'Dreams We Believe In' foundation. Tickets are free, although you must register

Full details of the tour can be found here and you can also watch a brief trailer.


It is nice to see the tables (and student desks) turned in a wonderful direction. It is always nice to know that the powerful voice that children have is being used, not only to assist their peers in the classroom, but also to help teach us as adults and teachers. As a teacher I always hope to create a learning environment in which teacher and student learn together and from one another. But, this is more powerful. This is a situation where the lives of children have become the curriculum for adults and teachers to learn new lessons from the children and then bring it into the classroom for discussion. It makes me so happy to see that these children have been given a microphone outside of the classroom. I look forward to sitting down in June to see this film, and to listening and learning from them.

By Aaron Neugeboren, Bangkok (13th May 2011)

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