Wake Up Pune in Mid-Day

Monday, January 18 2010,
Pune: Wake Up Pune was launched in November 2006, to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS

Wake Up Pune was launched in November 2006, to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS, by Hans Billimoria.

The organisation has 100 members, including representatives of NGOs, corporates, youth networks, media professionals and other concerned individuals. Members include Sahara Allad, Saheli, NMP+, Muktangan, Deep Griha, Aarogya.com, Muktaa Helpline.

Roshni Mehta (24), co-ordinator, Wake Up Pune, said their group focused on alleviating stigma attached to those infected with HIV-AIDS. “We hold –day boot camps for those who want learn about the disease. We also hold workshops at companies, colleges and schools. We have made an impact but it is a slow process. It will take us some more time,” said Roshni, who moved to Pune from the UK six months back to lend a helping man to the efforts.

Nityanand Mishra, a Wake Up Pune volunteer and participant said it was sad that Indians considered an HIV infection as dark spot on one’s character. “People don’t look into the circumstances of the infection and become judgmental,” said Mishra.

Boot camp attendees this reporter spoke to were shocked at learning how poor some of the HIV-infected were.
“Things have not gotten any better. The prejudice is widespread. HIV-positive persons in my staff cannot get a minor surgery. It is rescheduled week after week. This is because HIV positive people continue to be on the bottom of the list,” said Abbas Parvane (45), manager of the NGO Sahara Aalhad.  

Roshni said, “Personally this work is important for me. I like working towards becoming more positive and open about HIV. This will not only prevent further transmission, but also to improve the lives of the neglected and stigmatized, who are living with HIV. Many of these people have left home. They were abandoned by friends and families. It’s very real. This is something these people face on a daily basis.”

Mid-Day http://www.mid-day.com/news/2010/jan/180110-Pune-HIV-AIDS-Groups-Muktangan.htm


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