Bootcamp for Adolescent girls- 25th February 2012

A bootcamp was held for adolescent girls in nearby slum areas by Green Tara Foundation in beautiful gardens of Sangam campus. It started at 3 p.m and as soon as we entered the girls surrounded us to say hello. After some introductions, we settled down to begin the session. The Sangam volunteers were also present. The boot camp covered general HIV information, such as modes of transmission, symptoms and treatment, and the issues of silence, stigma and discrimination that surround HIV. Participants also discussed how the silence and ignorance about HIV in India leads to fear, resulting in the stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with HIV in this country. There were around 50 participants and 15 volunteers from Sangam.

The bootcamp was conducted in English but translated to Hindi by Prashasti Agarwal, our volunteer, for the community girls to understand. The girls were very enthusiastic and responded promptly. The agree/disagree line game was thoroughly enjoyed by the girls. It was delightful to see their positive responses such as they would continue to be friends with someone if they found out that their friend was HIV positive, not only because HIV doesn’t spread by touch or through air but to end stigma against PLHIV. They also supported rights of PLHIV which was evident by their statements that PLHIV have right to have children, just like everyone else. We also received interesting questions at end of session such as “Can HIV spread through smoking?” and “How does C-section delivery help to protect baby from having HIV?”

By the end of the bootcamp, every participant had been educated and made aware of the various important issues and can now spread the message to their respective families, friends and communities.


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