Strategies for tackling HIV and Aids among people in east and south east Asia were top of the agenda for the first day of the Anglican Alliance’s region forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Migrant workers are among the most vulnerable people to HIV and Aids, with little access to services or treatment. Their needs were set out in a forceful presentation by Elijah Fung, manager of the HIV and Aids programme at St John's Cathedral in Hong Kong.
The forum’s opening day, chaired by Mrs Laura Ocampo from the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, heard presentations on the progress of the Alliance by Director Sally Keeble, and about the work from regional participants:
- Rev John Deane, Executive Director of the Anglican Board of Mission in Australia and chair of the Advisory Council of the Anglican Alliance
- Mrs Annamaney Arumanayagam of the Diocese of West Malaysia, which is hosting the forum.
- Rev John Lee from Korea, who spoke and presented a video about the work of TOPIK, Towards Peace in Korea.
- She Hongyu, Deputy Director of the Amity Foundation, who set out the scope of the organisation’s work, and will also be making a presentation on its volunteering programme.
- Fr Desmond Cox, of St John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong who described the mission to migrant workers, the business community and the wide scope of ministries at the Cathedral.
- Bishop Shantha Kurunagala, presiding Bishop of the Church of Ceylon, who described his ministry in peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, the reintegration programme for returnees and his inter-faith work with the Buddhist community.
- Mrs Laura Ocampo introduced the many development programmes of the Episcopal Church of the Philippines including food security and co-operative development.
The Alliance’s Asia facilitator, Michael Roy, set out his role in supporting the work of Anglicans in development, relief and advocacy across the region. He will be presenting a paper on migrants, refugees and trafficked people at the forum meeting on Wednesday to develop a regional advocacy campaign.
Among today’s proposals for future action on HIV and Aids were recommendations for the Alliance to provide website space for Anglican practitioners to share best practice and resources, to produce theological material and capacity building tools, and for participation in World Aids Council events.
This week’s forum for east and south east Asia was one of the recommendations of the Asia consultation in 2011. It is the first of a series of regional forums to strengthen the relationship of the Alliance with provinces around the Communion, and to shape the next round of plans for development, relief and advocacy.