Cambodia is a Buddhist nation and has a strong tradition of respect for Buddhist monks as such. There are about 4.500 pagodas and over 56.000 monks throughout the country who hold a great deal of influence in Cambodian society and are often looked up to as role models, particularly in areas of behaviours and beliefs.
From the very beginning SCC has been working strategically with Buddhist monks and nuns to implement a wide range of HIV prevention and AIDS care activities. Utilizing monks, nuns and pagoda infrastructure provides great potential for reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS on communities in Cambodia. Many monks and nuns already act as teachers and community leaders, providing mental, spiritual and social support to people with various problems.
By adopting a train-the-trainer approach, core trainer monks successfully cascade their knowledge, skills and expertise throughout the monk network to maximum effect. Through a group of core monk trainers and a dedicated team of staff, SCC has been able to improve the lives of many people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS, especially orphaned and vulnerable children.
The involvement of monks in the response to HIV/AIDS has also been pivotal in addressing the stigma and discrimination that is often faced by many people living with HIV and their families. SCC therefore promotes dignified and equal access to treatment for all those who are vulnerable to and affected by HIV. SCC's holistic approach consists of HIV prevention, AIDS care, advocacy, stigma reduction, livelihood activities, nutrition support, infrastructure and community empowerment in the context of Buddhist culture and religion.