Past Events 2010

1 December 2010
World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day was honored with a 2 week lead up full of exciting events, named Join the Fight Fortnight. The Wake Up Pune team began by constructing a Stigma Tunnel out of painted cloth and brackets, which was a series of 4 rooms which when walked through  demonstrates the stigma and discrimination HIV positive people face such as being thrown out of their homes and feeling isolated. The DISHA ladies did a fantastic job of educating communities both inside and outside of Pune city about stigma and discrimination with the Stigma Tunnel and their acting and singing skills.

The Wake Up Pune volunteers ran a successful HIV awareness night at Shisha Jazz Night where they sold t-shirts, distributed condoms and leaflets and spread the news about the upcoming Join the Fight Fortnight Events. It was a great night and resulted in many new expressions of interest in becoming actively involved in WUP from many revellers. An entertaining Bachelor Auction was also held at High Spirits in November which raised a lot of awareness and money for WUP.

Street Theatre became an important aspect of the World AIDS Day events. Led by Ella and Eva with the help of Deep Griha international and local volunteers, a short play about stigma and discrimination was developed. The street theatre was performed on various days in many locations throughout the city during the fortnight and was watched by over 1000 people! In addition, 2 bright and beautiful Rangolis were created by talented professionals near Deccan Junction which created a lot of conversation and interest amongst street traffic.

The Wake Up Pune team this year extended their awareness programs to local high schools in order to educate the Pune youth about HIV issues. They conducted various workshops with both the students and teachers and covered such topics as HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, stigma, relationships, peer pressure and decision making. These workshops were fun and informative and the feedback from both the students and teachers was very positive.

Nearly there...

Join the Fight Fortnight was highlighed by the World AIDS Day Rally on 1 December. Beginning at Shaniwarwada Fort at 10am, the march continued with hundreds of enthusiastic participants to the BJ Medical College. It was an amazing turnout and the streets were alive with awareness and a positive message. We would like to thank all those people who attended the rally and showed their support.

Everyone really enjoyed their first taste of World Aids Day in Pune!

A Nurses Dance Competition was held at SGS mall on  2 December. Eight nursing schools competed and their singing, dancing and theatre was enjoyed by all. Well done to the competitors.

On Saturday 4 December, the Join the Fight Fortnight ended with the Celebration of Life event in Tadiwala. This extraordinary event included many fantastic performances by the DISHA ladies, local children, Symbiosis College, Sufi band, Wake Up Pune team and many others. It was a fun, entertaining night, thank you to all those who performed and participated.

15th October 2010
Bootcamp at Aasra Foundation Rehabilitation Center
The event was held for 25 recovering addicts and alcoholics.  The first half of the bootcamp was spent discussing what exactly HIV is and how it is spread.  The main focus of the bootcamp was on prevention.  Many of the men present had been clients of sex workers during their drug/alcohol binges.  We spent time demonstrating the correct way to apply a condom and answered many questions and myths regarding sexual safety.  For instance:  Does pulling out before ejaculation make you safer?  (It is only marginally safer for the woman, and not at all safer for the man.)  Is wearing two condoms safer than one?  (No, the friction between the two condoms can weaken them.)  We also discussed strategies to stay safer, even if they have relapsed and are not making healthy decisions.  For instance: opt for oral sex or assisted masturbation instead of penetrative sex, use a clean needle, don’t use alone, etc.

13th October 2010
WUPY Session: Sex Work
The session was held in Varsha Hall at the Deep Griha Cultural Center, and had a big turnout, filling the room with thirty people eager to discuss the issues. The session started off with an educational presentation with background information on the topic; detailing statistics and facts about sex work in India.

Following the general information, the session segued into a lively stigma activity where participants were asked to take a stand on polarizing questions such as, “Is prostitution a natural part of society?”, “Should prostitution be legalized?”, “Would you go to a sex worker if it were legal and safe?”. These questions provoked heated discussion on the moralities of sex work, and the possible effects of legalization. We then transitioned into small group discussions, delving further into the issues of sex work.

3rd October 2010
HIV Bootcamp at Varsha Hall

23rd September 2010
Awareness at Shisha Cafe
Old and new volunteers joined to spread Wake Up Pune‘s message to the visitors of Jazz Band Night at Shisha Cafe. To the melody of jazz visitors could learn about HIV, safe sex, testing and stigma. With a positive response over 200 free condoms were handed out, together with leaflets and ‘HIV positive t-shirt’-offers. Thanks to all the volunteers and Shisha Cafe for providing the platform.

19th September 2010
HIV Positive Bootcamp at Varsal Hall
Thirty curious locals and internationals showed up for the monthly HIV Positive Bootcamp. In this bootcamp we focus extra on getting to know our own judgements and values to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV. Attendants were introduced to the social aspects of HIV through exercises from the HIV/AIDS Stigma Resource Pack from AIDS Alliance.

17 September 2010
Ganesh Chaturthi festival
Deep Griha and Wake Up Pune celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi festival with an awareness stand with free condoms and leaflets at Laxmi road. During five nights the festival visitors could learn about the four different ways of transmission and how to protect themselves and there partners. A lot of positive commotion appeared when media students decided to tag a long one night and document the work.

5th September 2010
‘HIV Positive Bootcamp’ – English/Hindi
Three-hour awareness session run by Wake Up Pune volunteers, Petra and Chris, at Deep Griha Society Family Welfare Centre. Two sessions were conducted, one in Hindi and one in English, the two groups came together in the middle for a condom demonstration. Thanks to all who came along, and to Anurag for kindly translating.

26th August 2010
Wake Up Pune Youth (WUPY) Session – ‘The HIV Virus In-Depth’
For this Wake Up Pune Youth session we were pleased to welcome Dr. Petra Koenders to give a presentation on the HIV virus. Whilst our ‘HIV+ Bootcamps’ cover the basics, this session was a chance for volunteers to learn a little bit more about the structure of HIV, how ART treatment works, the different strains of HIV, and much more. Thanks to everyone who attended, we look forward to seeing you next time.

12th August 2010
HIV Awareness Rally
To celebrate International Youth Day, MSACS (Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society) organized an HIV awareness rally from Shanivarwada on August 12th. Volunteers from Wake Up Pune were among those taking part in the rally, holding banners and shouting slogans in order to wake Pune up to the reality of HIV prevalence in the city. It was a great opportunity to meet like minded people and spread awareness about HIV throughout Pune.

10th August 2010
Wake Up Pune Youth (WUPY) Session – ‘Philadelphia’
On Tuesday 10 August, the movie ‘Philadelphia’, one of the first mainstream Hollywood movies to explore HIV/AIDS, was screened for Wake Up Pune volunteers.  This was followed by an engaging discussion about the portrayal of HIV and AIDS in the movie and the stigma that PLHIV face which the movie highlighted. The session was enjoyed by everyone who attended and many said they left feeling more informed about HIV and more aware of the issues people living with HIV face on a regular basis due to the stigma that is still prevalent in society.

1st August 2010
MELAVA+ – Live Positive Love Positive
On 1 August 2010, Wake Up Pune held a matrimonial event for people living with HIV (PLHIV). The aim of the day-long event was to provide a platform for PLHIV to find loving and supporting relationships. A loving and supporting partner who can provide emotional backing can be life-saving in a persons fight for a long-life with HIV.

We were pleased to welcome over 150 people living with HIV present at the event, including around 50 women. The positive candidates were joined by a similar number of family members, all keen to meet prospective partners and to scout out partners for their kin. The day started with a number of icebreakers and games, this was followed by lunch for everyone and then, in the afternoon, a chance for interested candidates to talk to and interact with potential partners. The day ended with a number of PLHIV announcing their engagement to an excited audience, who all cheered, whooped and whistled, excited at the prospect of new beginnings.

Melava+ event was a mixture of age-old traditions and the modern world – it was dating disguised in a traditional meeting. In a country like India, where arranged marriages are still the norm, we provided an open and transparent atmosphere for people to seek out their life partner. The event was unique in the sense that it broke many social barriers; inter-cast marriage is still prevalent in India. We provided a platform in which people from different religions, castes and age-groups mixed with each other to find hope for a better life.

For many others who did not find partners the event was a chance to meet other PLHIV; an invaluable and life-changing experience. Mixing with others who face the same challenges and have shared similar experiences gives people hope. Perhaps more important is that act of publically announcing ones status as HIV positive, for many it was the first time they had done this.

20th July, 2010
HIV Bootcamp at Varsha Hall

13th July, 2010
Wake Up Pune Youth (WUPY) Session – Domestic Violence
This Wake Up Pune Youth session centered upon domestic violence in India, with a specific focus on the role HIV might play in domestic violence. The event was led by Audrey and Jennie, two Wake Up Pune volunteers, who has spent considerable time preparing materials, discussion topics and games for everyone to play.

We started with a small presentation by Jennie about what domestic violence actually is; this relied heavily on material from organisations such as UNICEF and the WHO. Following this, small groups were formed and each created and presented a small skit on different types of domestic violence and how it might exist in the Indian context. There then followed various discussions about how to move forward with the fight against domestic violence, suggestions varied from changes in the law, to awareness campaigns and training for the government bodies involved in combating abuse.

Thanks to all who came along, it was an interesting and thought-provoking evening.

4th July, 2010
HIV Bootcamp at Varsha Hall

20th June, 2010
Public Speaking and Facilitation bootcamp
The full day workshop was held at the Deep Griha Cultural Center and was facilitated by Ryan Beck Turner.  The eight volunteers who participated were taught the basic aspects of effective public speaking and were able to practice by presenting slides from the HIV bootcamp and receiving on the spot feedback.  Participants were also taught basic techniques for facilitating a productive discussion and were able to practice these techniques in a variety of audience scenarios (e.g. non-responsive, hostile, tangential).

13th June 2010
Monthly Bootcamp at Varsha Hall

27th May 2010
Bootcamp at Manas Vardhan Rehabilitation Centre in Baner, Pune
Wake Up Pune volunteers gave a 1h30 on HIV & AIDS awareness session in Marathi and English to 30 or more patients at Manas Vardhan rehabilitation centre. The session included information on how HIV is (and is not) transmitted and how to protect yourself and others, particularly in the context of alcohol and drug consumption abuse.

16th May 2010
27th Candlelight Vigil
On Sunday 16 May, Wake Up Pune volunteers and many of its NGO partners including Deep Griha Society, Sahara Aalhad, Udaan, CYDA and Aarogya celebrated the 27th annual Candlelight Vigil. This year’s event consisted of a series of ‘live installations’ throughout the city held by over 70 volunteers.

Participants were blind-folded, gagged, and bound, almost looking like prisoners of war or hostages.  The sign next to them said “Break the Silence.  Set us Free.”  These live installations represented the ‘Stigma Chakra’. The dramatic visual image of the bound volunteers shows how stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV are both cause and consequence of silence, fear and ignorance about HIV.

In the evening many more joined Wake Up Pune volunteers and partners to from Golibar Maidan and Sassoon ART Centre. From these locations, two teams marched down Pune’s main roads shouting slogans such as ‘Save Lives, Use Condoms!’ much to the surprise of passing vehicles. They then met at MG Road where passersby joined in to listen to speeches given by Ryan and Avinash, teamleader of DISHA (Deep Griha’s Integrated Service for HIV and AIDS). Together candles were lit in silence in memory of those who have been lost to AIDS and those who continue fighting today and to mark the end of another successful Candlelight Vigil.

Photos available at:

2 May 2010
Monthly HIV Bootcamp at Varsha Hall, DGS

28 March 2010
Monthly HIV Bootcamp at Varsha Hall, DGS

12-21 March 2010
Fireball Basketball Tournament 2010
Wake Up Pune was present at the tournament over three days including semi-finals and finals. During that time a group of local and foreign volunteers handed out over 80 surveys on HIV transmission and prevention which were then corrected and discussed with each individual participant.

Wake Up Pune volunteers interacted with hundreds of individuals, informing them about HIV, correcting their misconceptions on the virus and its transmission and counseling them about where to get tested and how to stay safe. Wake Up Pune hopes to keep up this new partnership with the Leo Club and work with them on more events in the future including Fireball tournaments.

17th of February 2010
SIMC Sympulse Festival 2010
On Wed 17 Feb and Fri 19 Feb 2010, Wake Up Pune volunteers joined the Wake Up Pune–Take 10 team to staff the kiosk and do outreach at the Sympulse 2010 event at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC), Viman Nagar Campus.

The WUP–Take 10 satellite uses a very effective 10-question questionnaire as an outreach tool.  A team of two outreach workers with questionnaires, clipboards, and pens walks through the crowd and asks students if they would like to find out what they know about HIV.  Virtually everyone approached readily accepts the invitation and fills out the form.  When done, the outreach workers go over the questions and provide the correct answers and answer any additional questions the students have.

Over 130 questionnaires were filled out on both days of the event.  Wake Up Pune–Take 10 workers then tabulate the answers as a way of assessing what and how much is known about HIV by the folks they reach out to.  On Wednesday, Emeline Rougeaux and Emma Collingbourne (wearing HIV Positive t-shirts) won one of the “Mummy Making” contests when Emma completely wrapped Emeline in toilet paper faster than any of the other teams.

On Friday, 3 volunteers from Japan brought some fun and games to the event, including some origami Samurai Warrior hats made out of newspaper with “HIV Positive”, “Condom Helmet”, and “Use A Condom” messages written on them.  “Major Tom”, our new mannequin outreach tool, made his debut at the college and was a hit but unfortunately he wasn’t stylish enough to be invited to participate in the event’s Fashion Show on Friday.

Click here to see photos.


21 February 2010

Boot Camp on 21 Feb at Varsha Hall, DGS

On Sunday 21 Feb more than 25 people participated in another HIV Boot Camp held in Varsha Memorial Hall at Deep Griha Society on Tadiwala Road.   “Major Tom”, our new mannequin outreach tool, was introduced and it was demonstrated, albeit humorously, just how easy it is to spread the BE HIV POSITIVE message.  

This bootcamp also marked the first time for a female condom demonstration thanks to Emma Collingbourne.

After the Boot Camp, many of us went to the German Bakery and placed 4 bouquets of flowers in front of what remains of one of our favorite meeting spots in memory of those who lost their lives and were injured in the 13th Feb 2010 bomb blast.


12 February 2010
Valentines Special
I ♥ Pune
– To celebrate valentines day, Wake Up Pune carried out an awareness event with generous help of Tertulia restaurant. Volunteers from Wake Up Pune distributed flyers & information pamphlets along with condoms wrapped in nice I ♥ Pune packets in Tertulia restaurant at Koregaon Park. We also had our mannequin displayed at the entrance, decorated with condoms & HIV+ shirt to help us to catch the attention of curious onlookers.


10 January 2010
Wake Up Pune Bootcamp
About thirty five people attended our first bootcamp of the year, held at Deep Griha’s Family Welfare Centre on Tadiwala Road.  During the interactive session, participants learned about HIV transmission, prevention, how it affects people and the stigma faced by people living with the virus.  We also came up with suggestions for future Wake Up Pune events and activities.  Everybody left feeling empowered to join the fight against HIV in Pune.  We’re hoping to hold one bootcamp every month from now on, to build up an ‘army of volunteers’ to tackle stigma in the city.  Look out for announcements about the next one.

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