AN EVENT TO ADDRESS STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION AMONG
14TH JANUARY 2008
THE MADRAS SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK (MSSW)
AIDS Prevention And Control Project
INDIAN COMMUNITY WELFARE ORGANISATION
AP-216, 18th Main road, 6th street, I block,
Vallalar colony, Anna Nagar West, Chennai – 40
Ph: 044- 26184392, 65515742
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Indian Community Welfare Organisation a registered voluntary organisation was established in 1994. It was born out of deep and abiding concern for marginalized and exploited women in difficult circumstances in India. The focus was on working with commercial sex workers and their clients and certain other target groups with the ultimate aim of educate them. ICWO is doing a considerable amount of work in the field of STD/HIV/AIDS prevention with the aid of several dedicated volunteers, the constant encouragement and support of the government.
EXPERIENCE OF ICWO IN HIV/AIDS
We Indian Community Welfare Organisation is a Non Governmental Organisation working in various development projects for the past twelve years with a special focus on prevention of STI/HIV/AIDS. We work with various target groups like the children of Sex Workers (UDHAYAM), Sex Workers, MSM (Men having Sex with Men), TWIP (Tourist and women in prostitution).
ICWO is involved in implementing targeted intervention programs and also associated with the care and support programs including providing nutrition for the positive children and children or affected by HIV in Chennai.
ICWO is equipped with proper infrastructure 39 full time staff, consultants 148 volunteers and has established good rapport with the community. In addition, ICWO has also maintained good rapport with the different NGO in the entire state of Tamil Nadu.
ICWO is also capable of undertaking programs in capacity building communication advocacy, MIS, monitoring and evaluation, material development and coordination of field based activities. ICWO has gained very good confidence in working with the government system through establishing a periodic and systematic relationship and liaison work.
PUDIYATHOAR PONGAL - 14th January 2008
Indian Community Welfare Organisation organised a program on Pudiyathoar Pongal on 14th January 2008 to address stigma and discrimination among People Living with HIV/AIDS. This event will create an opportunity to discuss about stigma, discrimination, violence, marginalization, ill treatment, denial of treatment, privacy, quality of life, access to the ARV treatment and Nutrition for PLWHA. The program was organized at The Madras School of Social Work, Casa Major Road, Egmore,Chennai-8
ROLE OF ICWO
ICWO jointly with The Madras School of Social Work organized a Pongal festival called Pudiyathoar Pongal for PLHA and Political Leaders in Chennai with the support of APAC on 14th January 2008.
The program was planned with the Principal Dr. Fathima Vasanth. She deputed a faculty Ms. Kalyani –Student Volunteer, to Coordinate with us for the program.
The Pongal festival was celebrated among PLHAs’ and Political Leaders. Totally 150 PLHA’S and their family members and 25 Political leaders were participated in the festival.
Dr. Fathima Vasanth Ph.D, Prinicipal, MSSW gave the Welcome address. Mr.Amar Jothi Nayak, Regional Manager, Actionaid India, Chennai Region was invited for the Key Note Address.
Dr.N.S.Murali, Honorary Secretary, Voluntary Health Services was invited for the Inaugural Address, Releasing the Pudiyathoar Pongal Poster and to Lighting the Stove.Dr. T. Ilanchezhian, Director-Programs, APAC, invited for the prize distribution. Mr. Pushpraj, Program Manager- Communication, APAC, gave the Vote of thanks.
The judges for the competition were Mr.A.Bakthavatchalam, Director, Association for Rural Mass India (ARM), Ms.Esther Mariaselvam, Program Manager Action Aid India, Mr. Kitcha, cine artists and Mr.Paul, DPM, Thiruvallur District Collectorate.
Mr. A.J.Hariharan, Founder Secretary of ICWO and Dr. Fathima Vasanth, Principal MSSW facilitated the program.
Dr. Fathima Vasanth Ph.D, Prinicipal, MSSW gave the Welcome address. During her speech she welcomed the gathering and said that this Pudiyathoar Pongal was planned to celebrate in a different way. So this festival was celebrated especially for the people living with HIV/AIDS and for the political leaders. The importance of this Pudiyathoar Pongal was to understand the feelings and problems of the PLHA. This program was organised in presence of students to avoid stigma and discrimination among people living with HIV/AIDS.
As per Vivekananda Words
“The Unity of Youth will build a powerful India”.
The society should give their care & support for the PLHAs’, she said.
PURPOSE OF THE EVENT
Mr. A.J.Hariharan, Founder Secretary ICWO, told that this was a first program organised in Social Work institution in India for the people living with HIV/AIDS in an Institution. So this program will reach all over the country. This program was to empower people living with HIV/AIDS to enjoy the spirit of festivals and involve themselves in organizing special events and to demonstrate the normal health status & positive messages of PLHA to the general population through media of the event. This program creates an opportunity for the PLHA to exhibit their talent and skills, he said.
KEY NOTE ADDRESS
Key note address was delivered by Mr.Amar Jothi Nayak, Regional Manager, Actionaid India, Chennai Region. He welcomed the gatherings and said that we all came together to challenge the stigma of the PLHA. Past years the Stigma practiced not only in the public but also in the family. Sometimes children not gave admission in the schools. There are several cases deprived off and the society also discriminated the PLHA. It’s very happy to know that HIV cases decreased in India with the help of activists, doctors and Government. In South Africa, Zimbabwe countries the youths were mostly infected because of HIV but still long way to go to prevent stigma in the society. Now days while talking to young doctors they were not overcoming to treat HIV patients.
He quoted Mother Theresa words that
“Though we may not do many things but can do small things”.
It’s very happy to see the PLHA those who came front for the Pongal festival to spread awareness among students. So it was said to be a mile stone to prevent HIV. The community level rehabilitation centres have been came after a long time for the PLHA. So it helps for the affected to get treatment, he said.
Dr.N.S.Murali, Honorary Secretary, Voluntary Health Services said that in this current period every one knows about this disease. Still there are myths and misconceptions in the society. This Pudiyathoar Pongal festival brings awareness in the PLHA. In earlier days PLHAs’ didn’t disclose their status to any one but now days the PLHAs’ disclosing their status because of the awareness programs conducted by the NGO’s in Tamil Nadu. Prevent Parent to Child Transmission has been decreased because of the awareness given by good NGO’s in Tamil Nadu. He appreciated the PLHAs’ those who came for the Pongal festival and participated in the function. Now days most of the NGO’s started the HIV program but the NGO’s all together come forward and should tell their suggestions to Government , he said.
RELEASING THE PUDIYATHOAR PONGAL POSTER AND LIGHTING THE STOVE.
Followed by the Vote of Thanks given by Ms. Jeyashree Project coordinator ICWO, Dr.N.S.Murali, Honorary Secretary, Voluntary Health Services released the Pudiyathoar Pongal Poster and lighted the stove.
Various competitions were organised for the PLHAs’ like
Ø Sugarcane Eating Competition
Ø Sweet Pongal Cooking Competition
Ø Tug of war
Ø Breaking the pot
Ø Beating the drum.
1) Sugarcane Eating Competition
As Pongal sugarcane competition was conducted. Best quality sugarcane brought and cut it in equal size for the members in the competition. The duration of 7 minutes gave to each participant to eat the sugarcane and first 3 prizes were selected by the judges.
2) Sweet Pongal cooking Competition
In Sweet Pongal Cooking Competition 10 participants were participated. Time fixed for the preparation of the sweet Pongal. The best prepared 3 sweet pongals were selected by the judges and for others the mementos were issued.
3) Tug of war
Totally 24 members were equally participated in both side. The team will be a mixture of PLHA and politicians. Care took to play the game in a safety environment.
4) Beating the drum
Beating the drum competition was organised. Totally 10 participants were participated. The drum given to beat for a long time and 3 prizes selected by the judges.
5) Breaking the pot
In breaking the pot competition interested participants were participated and won the prizes.
Dr. T. Ilanchezhian, Director-Programs, APAC, distributed prizes for the winners and Runners.
Dr. T. Ilanchezhian, Director-Programs, APAC, during his speech said that ICWO innovative efforts were appreciated and thanked the gatherings. He appreciated the PLHAs’ and their families to participate in these Pudiyathoar Pongal festivals.
ICWO took every effort to reach out to the local print and live media. It has reached a lot of readers and viewers. Positive messages were disseminated through the media. Around 20 media personals came from different leading media’s to take part in the Pudiyathoar Pongal. With the support of the media we will be able to remove the discrimination and negative attitudes of the general public towards PLWHA.
The event was concluded by a vote of thanks by Mr.Pushpraj, Program Manager –Communication, APAC thanked the gatherings for the participation. The Pudiyathoar Pongal brought the various PLHAs’ from various places in one place and felt proud of being a part of the Pudiyathoar Pongal festival.
As a PLHA they were happy about getting an opportunity to express their feelings through participating in various competitions.
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