The founder, Charlie Jacobs, has been living positively with HIV for 15 years.He has taken a public stand in 2011 regarding his own HIV positive status, when he was selected as one of the finalists in the Mr.Gay South Africa 2011 competition. He was the first ever finalist to go public with his HIV status. During his participation in the competition as a finalist, he spent a great deal of his time raising funds and awareness around HIV and demonstrated his ability to design and implement fundraising events.
Soon after the competition, he was selected by Positive Heroes as their first Positive Hero for 2012.
The NGO, Positive Heroes, is an educational, awareness and self-help action campaign that draws on the huge power that positive role models living with HIV, have, to change people’s responses to a deadly epidemic of silence and shame.
During his participation he was sponsored a Life Coaching course by New Insights Africa. He successfully completed his course and is now a Registered New Insights Life Coach.
He specialises in life coaching people living with HIV, especially those newly diagnosed with the disease, by helping them set goals, uncover and eliminate destructive behavioural and thinking patterns (values, beliefs, rules) in their lives. The focus is on shortening the journey to acceptance, eliminating denial, ensuring that those newly diagnosed, remain healthy.He also completed a HIV Peer Educator course and is now a qualified HIV Peer Educator.He believes that such training will create the opportunity for delegates to educate themselves and others. This will help to reduce HIV stigma and change people’s responses to the disease.
The above events that took place in his life, made him aware of the need for more Positive Role models and thus the reason for him creating Change the Stigma Project with the “Search for the Next Positive Hero South Africa in 2015”, as the first project. Due to limited resources this project was put on hold. His mission is now to create a fundraising project for Nkosi Haven’s children, capture their stories and raw sketch art through the “Charlie’s Positive Angels Project”