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H.E.R.A. (the Health Education and Research Association) was founded in 2000 as a volunteer’s movement of university students. It was in response to the country’s need for improved HIV education and treatment and for better care for people living with HIV.
Since its beginnings HERA recognized the need to integrate HIV activities and services into broader sexual and reproductive health (SRH) provision. Today HERA is a leading national NGO working in the field of HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The Cyprus Family Planning Association (CFPA) was founded in 1971 and became an IPPF Member Association in 1972. It runs a family planning clinic in Nicosia, providing a range of services, including HIV and AIDS testing. The facility draws on the help of a number of volunteer gynaecologists. Hundreds of young people provide peer group counselling, and also run a telephone helpline and workshops on sex education and sexuality awareness on a voluntary basis.
Since 2008, the government of Macedonia has invested millions in an anti-abortion campaign. In 2013, this culminated in a new law restricting women’s access to abortion. The Macedonian IPPF Member Association (XEPA) led civil society advocacy to demand the restoration of women’s right to abortion.
We are very pleased to announce the recipients of our grants for youth-led projects to tackle abortion stigma, which has been made possible by the Packard Foundation. Teams of young IPPF volunteers from Nepal, Palestine, Spain, Macedonia and Ghana will each be awarded grants to run their exciting and varied projects for the next five months. These projects will aim to fight abortion stigma, which takes many forms and can be incredibly damaging.
Vassilis is an openly gay man from Cyprus, where he volunteered and worked for the Cyprus Family Planning Association (CFPA). Conservative values have a significant influence over public opinion in Cyprus when it comes to LGBTI rights. Vassilis is an intern at the IPPF European Network office.
Daily, approximately 60,000 women across the world will have an abortion secretly in unsafe conditions. These women will risk their health and lives, scared of being reported and of possible prosecution.
Regardless of which country they live in, women who have an abortion are stigmatised. Even in countries with liberal laws.
In Macedonia, HERA's special educator, Zaklina Stepanoska, recalls the reactions of parents when she explained the programme. They were running an inititiave for young people with disabilities to learn about their sexual health.