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Story Telling Builds Compassion!

By Katherine Dodds On July 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

Everyone is someone's brother, son, father, sister, mother, auntie, cousin... we are all connected.

This is true for everyone, but even more so in First Nation's communities, where tight knit familes, mean the impact on one person is felt by many. This is why the implications of a positive diagnosis of HIV/AIDS has the potential to ripple out. And it's the love families have for their kin that can save communtiies from the devastating effects of stigma. 

We've had the priviledge of working over many years with Chee Mamuk, and recently did two projects we're really proud of: A book of photographs and stories of people living with the affects of HIV "Honouring our Journey"  and a video about Chee Mamuk's ongoing program "Around The Kitchen Table" which we've also been involved with in the past.

Freida Prince is featured in both the book and the video which can be seen after the page break. We think her story about losing her son is very moving and hope that the video is widely seen where it is needed as tool to build undertanding for those living with HIV, their families and the community. Thank you Frieda! 

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Katherine Dodds AKA "Kat" is the founder of Good Company Communications and HelloCoolWorld.com. Trained in renegade advertising & branding through her work with Adbusters in the '90s, Kat's early induction into the possibilities of the web-world was inspired by the term hypertext, which she immediately found comforting. She is dedicated to cause-related communication and to the development and use of tools that promote democratic processes.

February - Show our campaigns some love!

By Katherine Dodds On February 04, 2014 | 0 Comments

It's February! And around Hello Cool World you know what that means! Time to show our campaigns some love... 

It's no surprise Valentine's day is also our company anniversary, and this year we're a teenager - we turn 13! Every year we're reminded that we founded Hello Cool World because we love what we do.

Sexual Health, Harm Reduction, love and respect for the planet and for indigenous people, promoting heart-felt causes like our #4Eva campaign in honour of Eva Markvoort, and of course our love for people-over-profits through our work with the The Corporation film. 

So why not celebrate with us? Everything on our online store is ON SALE.

We even have some Good Clean Love all-natural products (body oils and lube) -- just for your pleasure, and with prices reduced.

Our #4Eva art cards and heart tees also make great valentine gifts. (And February is also heart month, big congrats to Mark Wilson who sent us a photo of him wearing his #4Eva heart shirt while celebrating his one-year transplantiversary last week! 

But even if you opt for another gift from our store, all these sales support our campaigns, (which of course you can also donate directly to):

65_RedRoses #4Eva - Right now we're gearing up for April/May #4Eva Legacay campaign.

The Corporation 10th Anniversary Year - In May we will launch our crowd-funding for our 10th Anniversary year to re-build our Corporation and Hello Cool World website systems to create an ongoing legacy for our orgnanizing work with our do-gooder cohorts. Join us for a year of organizing, dialogue, and actions! 

Picturing Transformation - We're also offering FREE shipping for our new book Picturing Transformation Nexw-áyantsut, which shows how 10 thousand people saved a rainforest through love, cermony and community. 

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An Incurable Case of Brotherly Love - A tribute to both Riyad and Roy Wadia

By Katherine Dodds On December 11, 2013 | 0 Comments

I didn’t know Riyad Wadia, but I know his brother Roy. And because I’ve seen Roy in action, I know Riyad must have been someone very wonderful.

On November 30, ten years ago, Riyad Wadia, India’s first openly gay filmmaker and a behind-the-scenes gay activist died of AIDS. It was two years later when I met his brother Roy who was working at the BCCDC when he accompanied us on a trip to Kitamaat Village with Chee Mamuk (Aboriginal program of the BC CDC) to make a short film about STIs and HIV with youth from the Haisla Nation. Riyad moved Roy to do this kind of health advoacy work, and it’s an honour to his memory that Roy is so dedicated to this cause. And while Kitamaat Village was a far cry from the world of Bollywood celebrity that Roy and his brother Riyad knew, taking the creative approach to health promotion came naturally to Roy.

Roy’s tribute to Riyad, was included by Denise Ryan in the recent Vancouver Sun’s series on the HIV/AIDS epidemic to mark this December’s 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day and Month.

Roy writes: “Riyad was a beautiful soul, loving and giving, missed to this day not only by our mother and myself, but by literally hundreds of people around the world who were lucky enough to know him.” Describing the irony of the fact that while Riyad helped many HIV-positive people get discreet and top-notch medical advice about HIV as well as access to medication, he himself never took any medication for the entire seven-plus years after his diagnosis, Roy wonders “Was it deep-seated self-stigma that stopped him from taking care of his own health especially in a day and age when medication was easily available and all the more when India’s leading generic drug manufacturer, Cipla, run by a family friend, would have provided him ARV free of cost? I still struggle to figure out what the true reason was.”

For those of us who work in health promotion within already marginalized populations, the reality is poignant: stigma can be deadly. The topic of the film made by the Haisla youth was on rumours and how they can travel quickly, like STIs can, in a small community. And like STIs, rumours can be prevented.

Their film  “Stand True” was light hearted and funny, but the night of its ‘world premiere” celebration, when it screened in front of 200 Community members in the Kitamaat Village Rec Centre, invited guest, Charlotte Brooks got up to speak. I witnessed the group of young filmmakers visibly transform. Charlotte talked about how their film’s theme of rumours touched on something so important, and she shared what living with HIV has been like for her, how rumours and stigma caused so much pain to her and to her family. Suddenly those youth knew that they had not only done something cool, they had done something important with their short film. Life-changing even.

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Live at Media Democracy Days!

By Katherine Dodds On November 09, 2013 | 0 Comments

It's time for our annual foray into the lovely world of collaborators and allies at Media Democracy Days!  

We'll be tabling to promote all our projects, and of course the long-awaited new release of Picturing Transformation Nexw-áyantsut, the book I co-wrote with Chief Bill Williams and Nancy Bleck. Check it out at www.PicturingTransformation.com. Please join us on November 21 at Emily Carr Universtity for a Traditional Coast Salish Utsám' Witness Ceremony to officially launch the book! info on our launches page.

David Ng and I will be joined at our table by Duane Stewart-Grant, one of the first youth we worked with for the Star in Your Own Stories workshops with Chee Mamuk. You can see the video he helped make with his community at Kitamaat Village at www.YouthHaveThePower.com! 

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Live at Gathering Wisdom!

By David Ng On October 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

Photo credit: FNHA

Kat and I are attending the Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey conference at the Hyatt in foggy Vancouver this week!

The conference also commemorates the inaugeration of the new health authority - the First Nations Health Authority - and began with an emphasis on ceremony. 

Today I attended my first session which was a youth panel on HIV and harm reduction - some of our friends from Chee Mamuk and the First Nations Health Authority were there presenting the Around the Kitchen Table video that we made.   We heard a youth panel talk about HIV and harm reduction, and how HIV is a virus, just like a cold and flu virus, except it has alot of stigma attached to it. It made me think about the first Star in Your Own Stories video project that we did with Chee Mamuk, and how the Haisla youth identified rumours as a major problem in their community, particularly around the issue of HIV. 

The First Nations Health Authority is emphasizing a wellness approach, and destigmatizing HIV is part of this wellness approach.  Instead of spreading misinformation and assumptions, supporting people with HIV in our communities can ensure that our communities are well.

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David Ng is a Hello Cool World veteran with experience going back a decade. David first worked with us when he was just 14 years old as a participant in the youth advisory group for the sexual health education program Condomania. Now an accomplished videographer passionate about the issues of gender and power, he is currently on sabbatical in South Africa while he pursues a Masters in Gender Studies with a focus on international development.

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