Wednesday, 15 September 2010

HIV/AIDS Awareness Project

African Impact has just completed 4 more successful weeks of our HIV/AIDS Awareness Project. We had three sessions at the Escola Secundaria de Vilanculos, teaching a class of 18+ year olds, and two sessions at Alta Macassa working with a group of HIV positive women.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the secondary school, and found the students to be enthusiastic, hard-working and knowledgeable. We taught the students about prevention and treatment, along with the biology and history of the virus. Although the students were already quite well informed, we found it necessary to clear up some of the common myths surrounding HIV and AIDS. The students were very engaging and asked many questions, which was fantastic and created a lot of discussion amongst the class.

In one of our sessions we performed a short play about HIV, in which our main character Pedro was persuaded by his friend not to buy condoms as “it’s better without!” Pedro then goes on to have unprotected sex with Nilza, a girl he met in a local nightclub. After the performance the students were asked what they thought of the play, and what they thought about how the characters acted. We then invited the students to change the play so it had a more positive ending, and asked the students to enter the roles of the characters. This worked really well, and the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In the second part of the session we asked the students to create their own piece of drama about various HIV/AIDS topics. The students came up with some great performances and really explored the issues surrounding the virus.

Our two sessions at Alta Macassa were very different from those at the secondary school; the group was a lot smaller and our sessions were much more casual. We began both sessions with a quick game of Uno to help make everyone feel more comfortable. The women took to the game quickly and everyone really enjoyed themselves. Since it was already known that the women were HIV positive, we decided to focus specifically on the transmission of the virus and treatment.

In our second session we asked the women to create a piece of artwork that expressed how they felt about HIV/AIDS. This was very special because they had never done anything like it; most of them had never even held a pen. It took them a while to take hold of the idea, but once they started working they got very involved. The artwork covered a wide range of topics, some focused on the need for a healthy diet while others illustrated the need for support from loved ones. Overall, the two sessions went very well and the women were eager to learn more.

Throughout the past four weeks, we have been lucky enough to work with a lot of great people and have really enjoyed the project. We look forward to future updates on the progression of the HIV/AIDS Awareness Project.

Written by Catriona Currie and Katie Hood

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