Meet Tim Dormer – the HERO Intern

by Tim Dormer in ONE-FOR-ONE

To find out more about my HERO Intern experience and to watch the amazing documentary of me in Botswana, sign-up to HERO”s database for an exclusive preview before the content goes live. Great competitions and prizes are also offered, so choose to be a HERO and sign-up today http://www.herocondoms.com.au/#amabassadors_section

I first came across the brand HERO when I was in woollies doing my groceries. Among other things I was picking up some condoms…(yes, I do believe in safe sex) and the recycled paper packaging of HERO’s condoms caught my eye! It was really cool to read about their 1for1 mission; that for every condom purchased here the company donated one to a developing country to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. I thought it was a pretty great idea that by purchasing a HERO condom to use for a pretty self-fulfilling purpose (have sex), I could be a part of something self-less and help out with a really positive cause! I’ve always been really passionate about giving back to those in need, whether that be through volunteer work or donations to charity…I think here in Australia we are so lucky and helping out others has never been something I have ever questioned, especially now that I have a public platform to help inspire others from!

It was by chance that a few weeks later I was introduced to the HERO team at an event, I told them that I loved what they were doing and they mentioned that they were about to head off to Botswana to donate 500,000 condoms and would I be interested in coming along to volunteer as the “HERO Intern”, to learn all about their 1for1 mission first hand! I’m always up for adventure and I love using my public profile to inspire people about causes that I am passionate about! This was an opportunity not to be missed!

To be honest I was a little nervous to join the HERO team in Botswana, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot of the world but I had never been to Africa before! The thought of experiencing a culture so different to our own was exciting but daunting, especially considering the reality check that was ahead! Visiting communities in a third world country is far removed from my comfortable apartment on Bondi Beach with my trendy pet pooch Meatloaf the French bulldog! But I’m all about challenging myself and I knew this experience was going to be tough yet rewarding. I didn’t know what to expect when it came to seeing firsthand the effect that HIV has on the community over there. I think there has always been a stigma associated with AIDS, it is often a taboo subject and perhaps one that has gone a bit quiet in the western world in the last few years largely due to medical advancements in treatment and the perception that it is no longer as much of a threat as it once was. I think we often forget that the rest of the world doesn’t have it like we do, and maybe we have become ignorant to the fact that AIDS is still a devastating reality claiming so many lives in underdeveloped countries around the world. I was keen to see how this experience would affect me, and find out what I would learn that I could bring back home to motivate others to help!

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I flew into Gaborone, the capital of Botswana to meet the HERO team and it was straight to work! Finding out about some of the statistics on HIV rates in Botswana blew my mind, one in four of the sexually active community is HIV positive and there are 15,000 new cases diagnosed each year! Another scary fact is that it’s a disease that’s affecting young people like me, with over 80% of the population being under 40 and of those 60% don’t even know their HIV status! I found out that there are huge stigmas associated with the disease, often preventing young people from using condoms, getting tested regularly or seeking the treatment they need if they do contract the virus. Discovering that condoms are often hard to come by for many people in Botswana gave me renewed motivation to be a part of HERO’s mission and be a part of the solution to what seemed a hugely hopeless situation!

What I loved about what HERO is doing in Botswana is that they are partnering with local NGO’s and community volunteers on the ground. If their mission is to have long lasting success in reducing the rate of HIV transmission in the country then it is essential that they partner with the community, and it was fantastic to see this in action! HERO put on amazing community events that I was a part of, concerts at busy locations as well as soccer tournaments! At these events I was a part of the volunteer team who handed out HERO Condoms to the community, which were really well received!  HERO’s customised condoms specifically for Botswana with packaging that included the nation’s colours and made the condoms scented as a result of a community survey conducted on a previous trip. The atmosphere at these events was so positive, welcoming and fun, which was really important in breaking down some of the social stigmas that young people might feel towards the discussion about safe sex. It was really inspiring to work alongside local volunteers who are enthusiastically passionate about making a real difference in their own community! Engaging with the beautiful kids in the community was a real heartwarming moment, their joy despite living with so little in communities where each family is likely to have someone affected by HIV is humbling. I think I really was reminded that it’s not about how much we have in life that makes us happy, but being grateful for the things we do have, sometimes the simplest things in life is what makes us content…family, friends and being healthy.

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It was interesting to meet with Government and health officials to find out what was being done to combat the disease, heartbreaking to discover the immensity of the issue and the long road ahead! It could seem overwhelming and maybe at times impossible, but as long as there are passionate people and companies like HERO working together, there is hope for a better future!

It was really special to think that each HERO Condom that I handed out on this trip represented one purchased by someone back home who was helping out to be a part of the solution to the AIDS epidemic in Botswana. Even though it seems a world away, through a simple act of making a conscious choice about which condom brand you purchase, you have the opportunity to make a difference!

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My journey with the HERO team was fully documented and a really great content piece will be coming out shortly, so stay tuned to my social channels to view my experience in Botswana as the ‘HERO Intern’

To find out more about my HERO Intern experience and to watch the amazing documentary of me in Botswana, sign-up to HERO”s database for an exclusive preview before the content goes live. Great competitions and prizes are also offered, so choose to be a HERO and sign-up today http://www.herocondoms.com.au/#ambassadors_section

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