Today is World AIDS Day, and Avert is the international charity that is leading the campaign. According to their website,
The WAC’s slogan for their work is “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise”. This is an appeal to governments, policy makers and regional health authorities to ensure that they meet the many targets that have been set in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and especially the promise of universal access to HIV treatment, care, support and prevention services by 2010. This campaign will run until 2010, with a related theme chosen for World AIDS Day each year.
The 2007 theme, “leadership”, highlights the need for innovation, vision and perseverance in the face of the AIDS challenge. The campaign calls on all sectors of society such as families, communities and civil society organisations – rather than just governments – to take the initiative and provide leadership on AIDS.
If you would like to do something right now, then click the button on the right and join the campaign to stop AIDS in children. You can find out more about the campaign by watching this YouTube video.
Right now across South Africa, there’s another campaign called 16 Days to End Gender Violence. My home town’s local newspaper, The Witness, is running a series of stories in tandem with this campaign focusing on the good men out there. It celebrates men who are working to bring about healing and hope, who have life-giving relationships with their families and the rest of society. One of the stories is about Tony Shelembe, who died of AIDS-related TB of the liver in November, and whom I wrote about here. I was able to help Daniela and her team prepare the stories for publication by running my editor’s eye over them, a task I did gladly.
I am learning that there are ways to help without necessarily giving money. As I talked to a friend yesterday, I began to think that there are ways we can all help by just sharing our time and our expertise. A psychologist could donate 5% of her time to counselling children bereaved by AIDS, someone with drama training could start an informal children’s theatre, someone who has experience with setting up a business could advise women on micro-businesses, someone who sews could make clothes, others of us could donate our children’s discarded toys to children who have nothing.
This year’s World AIDS Day focuses on leadership, and we hope that the leaders in South Africa will realise how urgent the AIDS epidemic is and decide to show compassion for their people. However, we can each be innovators in our own small ways. We don’t have to run a community organisation or a charity, we don’t have to donate huge sums of money, we just need to open our hearts and examine how we can help.
I am a writer. And so I write.