Heroes in the fight against AIDS
August 3, 2007
Heroes in the fight against AIDS

Twenty-five potential heroes in the fight against HIV/AIDS will this afternoon wrap up a one-week HIV/AIDS education workshop.

The workshop, held at St. Paul’s Parish Hall in Calliaqua, is being facilitated by a four-person team from Washington AIDS International Teens (WAIT), a group that teaches HIV/AIDS education using song, dance and drama.{{more}}

“Each life is precious, and each choice they make can allow them (young people) to be heroes in the fight against AIDS,” said 19-year-old Cathlene Bell, one of the members of the WAIT team.

WAIT promotes abstinence as the best choice to stop the disease, and encourages youth to use their talents to make the world a happier place.

During the workshop’s opening ceremony, Bell, along with her teammates Christella Hardman, 23 and Kensei Tsubata, 18, performed the song Hero, originally done by Superchick, but re-written by WAIT, to loud applause from the audience. The lyrics call on young people to be heroic by waiting to have sex. “Deciding to wait, he can save many lives, a hero is born when he waits for his wife,” the song ends.

Held under the theme “Fighting HIV/AIDS through youth empowerment”, the week’s programme was organized by the House of Hope Society, and is, according to Ronnie Daniel, Chairman of House of Hope’s Education Committee, part of his organization’s faith based response to HIV/AIDS.

Participants learned a skit, which they performed in Calliaqua and Barrouallie, looked at DVDs of HIV stories from around the world and heard presentations on various aspects of HIV/AIDS including stigma and discrimination.

WAIT Team leader, Kazuo Tsubata said that his group, which was established in 2002, had performed all over the world, in countries such as Kenya, Israel, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada and most recently South Korea.

Vice President of the House of Hope Society Clare Keizer, making brief remarks, thanked the Caribbean Conference of Churches for sponsoring the workshop and said that education programmes such as this one were as important to the House of Hope Society as was establishing their hospice.

She revealed that after years of searching and fund raising, the organization had finally acquired a property in which to begin hospice care, and renovations were to begin shortly to upgrade the building.

Parliamentary representative for the area Clayton Burgin, who declared the workshop open, applauded the use of drama, music and dance in communicating information on HIV/AIDS.

He said that Government is providing anti-retroviral drugs to persons living with the disease so that they can continue to be productive.

The participants were drawn from youth groups and sports clubs around the country. Retired nurse Sister Elma Dougan was also a facilitator at the workshop.