Former Dunedin residents Kenneth Fleck (39) and wife Kim
(42) and daughters Jenna (13) and Shani (10) are returning
to Southeast Asia to work with community leaders to help
them better understand HIV. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Former Dunedin resident Kenneth Fleck (39) is no stranger
to helping people.
He worked in the intensive care unit at Dunedin Hospital
before completing a master of philosophy degree at AUT and
Laidlaw College in Auckland, on the cross-cultural gaps in
For the past four years, I've been living that thesis.''
He and his wife Kim Fleck (42) and their two daughters Jenna
(13) and Shani (10) moved to Thailand in July 2009 and
returned to New Zealand in June to promote their Thailand
The Fleck family began their journey back to Thailand on New
Year's Day and would arrive in Chiang Mai, the second biggest
city in Thailand, on January 10, Mr Fleck said.''
When we bought the tickets to go back, the girls were dancing
around the room.''
They have been working for Sim, a Christian non-governmental
organisation, to build trust with religious and community
leaders in Thailand by providing them with tools to help
people living with HIV and Aids.
The work was not about imposing models on locals but more
about listening to the needs of the community, Mr Fleck said.
Mrs Fleck taught preschool English in Thailand and their
daughters attended an International School.
The five-tone Thai language and the heat were the most
challenging things about living in Thailand, he said.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids), a condition in humans in
which failure of the immune system allows infections and
cancers to thrive.
In New Zealand, 3000 people are living with HIV. In 2012,
there were 81 new cases.
In Thailand, two people an hour acquired HIV and about half
of those living with the virus are youth.
In Thailand, the virus was mostly transmitted by sexual
intercourse and intravenous drug use.