Activities Carried Out by the Members of Aghaz-e-Nau
The program started with a ceremony of wearing red ribbon. The red ribbon is an international symbol of AIDS awareness that is worn by people all year round and particularly around World AIDS Day to demonstrate care and concern about HIV and AIDS, and to remind others of the need for their support and commitment.
The formal session started at 11:00 am with the Recitation of Qur’an by Muhammad Ahmad followed by a Naa’t by Hira Tufail. The program was hosted by Waqas Hassan and Raqia.
A very well elaborated presentation on “Role of Youth in Prevention of HIV/AIDS” was delivered by Arjumand Ayub, Clinical Psychologist. She explained the difference between HIV/AIDS, Means of transmission and ways to prevent it with special focus on youth and their role in the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
She also focused on to accept those living with HIV/AIDS as any other diseased person to minimize the stigma and discrimination.
A video of a person was shown to the participants. The video was a true story of a person living with HIV/AIDS. He shared his experience of fear; stigma; and discrimination and he talked about the way he managed to overcome these issues. He developed courage, confidence and energy to live a normal life. Other than Antiviral Treatment he talked of taking help from Alternative Therapies including Reiki, Yoga, Swimming and Massage. His main focus was on Mind-Body-Soul Relationship. The idea behind was to convey a message of “HOPE” that AIDS is not curable but can be managed though in a hard way.
A Poem was recited by Raqia and the gist was how HIV (Virus) attacks the body and weakens the immune system yet an infected person needs to learn to accept it and take care of himself. Another poem was presented by Sumaira Shahzad. It carried a message for the general population to accept people living with HIV/AIDS and to minimize the stigma.
Mime is a type of acting using only gestures and facial expressions. Mime was presented by Hira Aziz and friends. It was a story of a young girl who encountered certain risk factors and became HIV Positive. Initially, she was in pain and agony. Finally, she came to realize that she will have to learn to live with it. She decided to educate the general population that it is very much normal to interact with HIV/AIDS patients at the same time one needs to take certain precautions.
A Rap was presented by Arslan Austin. The Rap was about a young man whose mother was on drugs and she was a sex worker. She died because of AIDS. In this rap the young man was coming up with his feelings of pain, sadness and anger as for him it was a traumatic experience.
Address by the Chief Guests
Dr. Salman Shahid, Director Punjab AIDS Control Program (PACP) said there is a dire need to spread the information and create awareness regarding the threat of HIV/AIDS and use of drugs among the masses so that they could protect themselves from this menace.
He also highlighted the causes and preventive measures of HIV/AIDS. He said that majority of the population of our country consisted of youth and they are the most at risk population, which needs to be targeted.
Ms. Shahtaj Qazalbash, one of the founding members of AGHS and is the member of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She is working with “AGHS Legal Aid Cell” as a Coordinator Para Legal and Para Legal Extension Program since 1989. She appreciated different activities carried out by students and expressed her desire to create awareness regarding HIV/AIDS at the grass root level. She also felt that attending the program was a good learning experience.
The program was ended with Candle light Vigils and a song.