“Rio the Survivor” is a film based on true story of a child living with HIV and fighting for the right to live and for education. Rio Sudiro (11 years old) has been living with HIV from his birth, and both his parents have died of AIDS. Rio’s father passed away while he was still in his mother’s womb and his mother has recently passed away a year ago. After his mother died, Rio was taken care of by his grandmother. They live by selling fried food in front of the house and also have other stalls in the neighbourhood reselling their fried food.
Rio is a smart, creative, and outgoing young boy who loves playing soccer and performing pantomime as a hobby. He even has won awards at some children’s pantomime competitions. Rio is also a mainstay player in his school’s soccer team and his team is currently participating in an elementary school competition. But problems arise when the parents of his friends at school find out that Rio is a child living with HIV. Due to the lack of correct information and understanding about HIV and AIDS, Rio faces discrimination from them and is forced to leave school.
The news about Rio living with HIV also spread around his neighbourhood. His village friends stay away and his neighbours try to expel Rio and his grandmother from the village. The stall at home becomes deserted, as nobody wants to buy fried foods from them anymore and no other stalls are prepared to resell their food. When Rio was put in a new school by his grandmother, he was again treated with discrimination. His teacher didn’t even want to shake hands with him.
The discrimination he has suffered makes Rio very sad and desperate, but his grandmother convinces him to stay strong. Fortunately Rio also has three best friends, namely Rendi, Andi, and Tono. They try to find the correct information about HIV and AIDS. After they know that HIV is not transmitted through casual social contact, they remain friends with Rio and do not stay away from him. They even try to spread the correct information about HIV and AIDS to Rio’s neighbours and their parents. This experience makes Rio confident to face life again.