I joined TeachAIDS this past summer working remotely as a graphic design intern. When I returned to school in the fall I was able to continue my work and become a more integral member of the team through an interface design research course. I am currently a senior studying human-computer interaction, and over the past few years I have therefore taken coursework related to the field. Now in my final year, I have completed so many courses wondering "what was the point?" because I couldn't find any real-world application. I'll admit that I was feeling a bit disillusioned and unsure of the skill set I'd be leaving college with. It wasn't until I joined TeachAIDS, however, that I became fully aware of the power and impact a well designed interface can really have. I am continually in awe of how effectively TeachAIDS has tackled the issue of HIV prevention. Becoming a part of TeachAIDS has been an invaluable experience that has opened my eyes in so many ways.
TeachAIDS has found a seemingly simple solution to a very complex problem. When I first learned of their animated software, I stopped and asked myself why no one had thought of it sooner. They have reworked HIV prevention education so that the content is both culturally appropriate and highly informative. I've learned that everything that goes on behind the scenes is far from simple and only made possible by the team's tireless efforts. What amazes me the most is the entire team's unwavering passion and commitment to the cause. Everyone is so determined to produce the best quality work possible because they believe in it so strongly. While every team member works painstakingly to perfect the minutia of their individual tasks, they are able to do so because they never lose sight of the big picture. It's hard not to feel so driven by work which you know has such a global impact.
I never expected to feel at such an early stage (as an undergraduate) that my work actually matters. Interns are not usually given real responsibility, but my mentors at TeachAIDS encourage me to tackle projects which are important to me but will also serve to further TeachAIDS' overall goals. Our work actually has a lasting impact across the globe, and this truth is both incredibly humbling and inspiring. Although I am an intern and new to the team, I was never made to feel low in the hierarchy. Everyone literally sits and works together like a real team. Everyone's opinions and work are valued, and I am always welcomed to share my ideas. Working with this group and contributing to TeachAIDS' immensely important work has made me much more confident of my abilities and excited for the future.
I cannot fully express how thankful I am to have become part of the TeachAIDS team. It has been an incredible learning opportunity, and I know I will always carry this experience forward with me. I strongly encourage anyone who is looking work that is diverse and has a far-reaching impact to volunteer for TeachAIDS. At first I worried that my varied skill set would not fit their work, but I found my place and I'm sure anyone else with a genuine desire to make a difference can too.
During my first year as a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin in 2012, I was introduced to Piya Sorcer and TeachAIDS through a friend. As I learned more about TeachAIDS, I kept saying to myself, this is amazing work! This is the type of work that I want to be doing! I was initially impressed with TeachAIDS because it embodies many of the things I believe most about public health, international development, and social justice. TeachAIDS empowers people with knowledge. It makes that knowledge available for free to people all over the world in ways that are culturally appropriate and language specific. The material in the tutorials is also evidence-based and easy to understand. TeachAIDS has not let me down, and I am still impressed.
As an intern with TeachAIDS for the past year, I have had the opportunity to work closely with TeachAIDS staff on communication and outreach efforts. I have learned about countless organizations across the world that are using material from TeachAIDS to educate children and adults about HIV and AIDS, and I have been tasked with putting their stories onto paper. I have even had the opportunity to help with content review of the TeachAIDS animations. Additionally, I have contributed to the collection and editing of material related to TeachAIDS celebrity icons.
Writing about the use of TeachAIDS as a tool for public health (and a means to open up a dialogue about HIV and AIDS) has been beneficial to me as a student and as a professional. I have gained insight into how a non-profit organization like TeachAIDs functions, and I learned a great deal about all the detailed steps involved in producing culturally appropriate health-messaging tools. Currently, I am working as an intern from a distance, and much of my work has been independent. Regardless, I still get plenty of contact time with TeachAIDS. I know that I can always email or call with questions.
During my own recent travel, I have had the opportunity to share TeachAIDS tutorials with non-governmental organizations in Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa. Sitting with students while they watched the videos was life changing. In particular, I remember my time in Kenya, where a group of more than 50 secondary students huddled around just one laptop to learn about HIV. After the animation, the students asked insightful questions and together discussed cultural misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. By the end, students were correcting one another about how HIV is transmitted. I was encouraged to see Kenyan youth soaking up such important information.
Most importantly, I have received mentorship and support throughout my internship. I know that my work contributing to the greater purpose and efforts of TeachAIDS. My internship has been a wonderful complement to my studies, and I look forward to working with TeachAIDS in the future.
I started volunteering at TeachAIDS part-time during the spring of my freshman year. That experience translated into a full-time summer internship as the project that I was working on gained momentum and became increasingly crucial for scaling the TeachAIDS software to many other countries/regions. As a sophomore at Stanford University interested in the dual fields of computer science and economics, volunteering at TeachAIDS has provided me with unique opportunities that lie at the intersection of both areas. I was able to use my programming knowledge to help address scaling and size issues in the distribution process.
Unlike traditional software engineering opportunities, the work that I have done at TeachAIDS has a very real global impact. It is incredible and a privilege that as a freshman I could design and build a meaningful software project from scratch where the results of my work could directly impact the trajectory of the organization’s ability to distribute the TeachAIDS software to many new regions. It has been a fantastic experience to meet and work with all of the wonderfully dedicated, motivated, and incredibly intelligent individuals who make TeachAIDS so special. At TeachAIDS people of numerous and varied talents and skills have come together to create important technology that addresses the human condition.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have had, this past year, to utilize my computer science skills for mass impact in this major global health challenge. The people who I’ve met and the projects that I have worked on have made volunteering for TeachAIDS an incredible experience.
During the fall of my senior year at MIT, I took a Global Health Delivery and Management class at the Sloan School of Management. In that class, we studied how non-profits were improving the health of people around the world and even worked on case studies with specific organizations. After taking that class, I decided to volunteer with a non-profit in China called Fuyang AIDS Orphan Salvation Association during my January term. When I told the Professor (Anjali Sastry) about my plans, she introduced me to Piya Sorcar, the CEO of TeachAIDS. It turned out that Fuyang AIDS Orphan Salvation Association was actually a partner of TeachAIDS.
While volunteering in China, not only did I work on improving the health delivery process, but I also spent several days educating high school and middle school students about HIV. TeachAIDS provided me with highly useful and accessible HIV educational material. The educational videos were not only accurate and informative, but also easily understood by the Chinese students. I still remember several students coming up to me and telling me how shocked they were with all the misconceptions they had regarding HIV. HIV education is severely lacking in many parts of the world and TeachAIDS is one organization that has been able to effectively address this problem with a unique and innovative solution—animated, educational software.
Since then, I have continued to volunteer with TeachAids on a variety of fundraising and research projects. It has been especially eye-opening learning about and identifying various funders and supporters of HIV prevention efforts. Although funding for treatment of HIV is entirely necessary, funding for prevention of HIV will ultimately lead to the end of HIV. For this reason, prevention efforts like those of TeachAIDS are especially critical to curbing continued spread of HIV. I've also actively worked with other volunteers on identifying new countries that TeachAIDS should develop software for. In my last project, I definitely pushed myself to the limits and developed greater skills in strategic planning as I evaluated HIV prevention efforts in a dozen countries and identified possible HIV non-profits and partners in each.
I’m blessed and grateful for the opportunity to work with TeachAIDS. The staff and volunteers are all very passionate and welcoming; I definitely feel like my volunteer efforts have been useful. Even after graduating from MIT, I've still continued to volunteer with TeachAIDS because I believe they are making a meaningful and important impact in the fight against HIV.
The TeachAIDS philosophy that every human being deserves access to excellent HIV/AIDS education is so clear in their every day work. I am inspired by the emphasis the team puts on carefully researching the culture surrounding HIV/AIDS in populations of interest, and the effort that goes into developing a tool that will actually be useful. Millions of people around the world are learning more about HIV/AIDS through the work of TeachAIDS, and it is amazing that an organization this small is affecting change on such a large scale. This is not surprising once you see how effective this non-profit is.
Volunteering at TeachAIDS is hands-on and involved. When I started volunteering as a sophomore in college, I worked on the Kinyarwanda translation as a translator, and soon enough, I was recruiting Kinyarwanda speakers to do the back translation. It wasn't too long till I started communicating with organizations who would use the education materials in Rwanda, and working with different levels of government to make sure these materials are a resource to all. In a short time, I learned so much about the challenging process of making materials accessible to people, as well as the politics of public health, communications etc.
Volunteering at TeachAIDS has given me an opportunity to be involved in really important work, and do so with incredible people. The people I have met in the past ~4 years volunteering at TeachAIDS are the most passionate, thoughtful, and committed. I am so grateful to have been part of a group that so intensely believes in doing good in the world, and doing it well.
While looking for public health internships for the summer, I stumbled across an email about TeachAIDS and its internship opportunities. When I checked out their website I was impressed with their product, mission, worldwide success, and partnerships with internationally recognized organizations and companies. So I contacted the organization and became a volunteer.
As a volunteer, I had the privilege of working on creating TeachAIDS materials for India, Rwanda, and Botswana, the country of my birth. While working on the project I was particularly impressed with the entire TeachAIDS team and research-based design process. The non-profit has a team of dedicated and passionate professionals, field experts, and volunteers. All these talents come together to create medically-accurate, pedagogically-grounded, and culturally-tailored education materials. The organization’s mission is clear: provide communities worldwide with the best HIV/AIDS education materials available. And that’s exactly what they do.
Being a part of TeachAIDS has been an important part of my Stanford career and my personal development. I’ve been truly blessed to be a part of an organization that is revolutionizing HIV prevention and making an impact - in my country and countries around the world.
I joined TeachAIDS as a volunteer in 2010 after learning about the work that TeachAIDS had accomplished in China and India. Several TeachAIDS volunteers, who I later had the opportunity to work with, spoke to an HIV&AIDS seminar course at Stanford about their work. I was compelled by the unfolding of TeachAIDS from the Ph.D. research of the CEO and Founder, Dr. Piya Sorcar, in India. I became interested in the innovative, practical approach the organization decided to take to overcome cultural and legal barriers to educating learners about a taboo topic like HIV&AIDS. From the beginning, I believed in TeachAIDS, both because of the endless positive testimonials I heard from around the world and the rigorous research results I learned about through professors at Stanford University.
It was only when I began volunteering with TeachAIDS that I saw the incredible amount of collaboration TeachAIDS has been able to encourage and the barriers TeachAIDS has overcome in pursuit of an HIV-free generation. The success of TeachAIDS comes from the collective work of Stanford experts, volunteers, and organizations from around the world. Through this collaboration, TeachAIDS produces high-quality HIV prevention education tutorials that are culturally-accessible, medically-accurate, and proven effective. The tutorials use images, references, icons, endorsements, and languages that are suitable for a specific cultural context. Combined with interactive animations, this approach not only teaches learners how to protect themselves from HIV&AIDS, but also increases retention.
I have gained invaluable experience during my time at TeachAIDS and had the opportunity to work with a wide-range of projects. Despite the organization's commitments, volunteers are incorporated into the organization and learn a great deal about the nonprofit field as well as HIV prevention education. I have pursued additional experience in the nonprofit field, and I can truly say that the standards, cooperation, and commitment to maintaining an ethical organizational philosophy are unparalleled. TeachAIDS is truly groundbreaking and the slew of recognition the organization has received reflects the effectiveness of its innovative approach.
To support TeachAIDS will make you a part of an international effort to provide much needed HIV prevention education to the people that need it the most.
Review from Guidestar
In 2009 I had made the decision to take a year off of my normal corporate work and volunteer. I met Piya the founder and Ceo of TeachAIDS and had an amazing experience volunteering in Africa as well as locally. More nonprofits should be run like this - they are very streamline and run like a company with no wast like I have seen in other nonprofits.
I came to TeachAIDS as a volunteer in 2009, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. TeachAIDS is easily the best nonprofit I've worked for, and distinguishes itself due to it's commitment to creating a great product with the help of great people. TeachAIDS holds itself to the highest standard of excellence, and it's rapid growth over the last 5 years is a testament to this standard. TeachAIDS creates a product that is in demand, high-quality, and crucial to the fight against HIV/AIDS and associated taboos. Furthermore, the experience I received by working at TeachAIDS was extremely valuable to my professional development. I've gone from TeachAIDS to a highly-regarded economic consulting firm and plan to pursue medical school. Whether you're a donor, potential volunteer, or ally in the fight against HIV/AIDS, you will find TeachAIDS at the very top of your list.
Review from Guidestar
TeachAIDS is a very unique organization, not only because of its new approach to HIV/AIDS education and prevention, but also because the staff and volunteers are such an incredible group of dedicated, driven, and passionate people. All non-profits and those who work with them are obviously committed to a mission, but TeachAIDS simply takes it to another level. Working with people who are so completely invested in creating and distributing the amazing TeachAIDS materials for FREE around the world has been an education in what it means to truly devote oneself to making a positive difference in the lives of others. Furthermore, all that TeachAIDS accomplishes is done with limited funding and staff—it has been astounding to see what the organization has done despite so little in the way of traditional resources.
TeachAIDS is not only an amazing organization, it's an amazing organization to volunteer for. I have been volunteering with TeachAIDS for almost a year and a half, and I have had the chance to work on projects that volunteers at most organizations would never see. From research and data management, to fundraising, marketing, and product development I have been able to do in-depth, meaningful work with TeachAIDS. I cannot overstate both the professional and personal impact of working with this organization, or how much I have learned from my experiences there.
Truthfully, it's just hard to express how special this organization is. TeachAIDS is different simply because of the work they do, but even more importantly how they do it. I've never seen such meticulousness, dedication to quality and efficacy, and motivation to make a positive change in the world. It has been truly unbelievable to see the impact TeachAIDS is having on HIV/AIDS education around the globe, and I look forward to seeing the organization's reach and influence grow as the TeachAIDS team continues to do impeccable work.
Review from Guidestar