IGP (Income Generation Programme)

8 December 2010

DISHA's Annual 'Celebration of Life'

Deep Griha Society's World AIDS Day events programme culminated in its annual Celebration of Life this Saturday  at Panch Building off Tadiwala Road. It was, without doubt, a resounding success, and something of a metaphor for the NGOs great influence in the sphere of HIV awareness in Pune.

The evening of lively entertainment kicked off with an enthusiastic and moving contribution from children from the Balwadi slum area, which grabbed the 400 strong audience's attention and got people's toes tapping. This was swiftly followed by a string of performances, including hip hop and bollywood dances by the DISHA (Deep Griha's Integrated Service for HIV and AIDS) and Adhar Kendra kids, proving that age does not matter in the fight against discrimination. Deep Griha's overseas volunteers also brought their own energy and sense of fun to the evening, with a twist on the classic YMCA hit song with dance moves to match the new HIV positive lyrics.

Sachin Gawali and his team of handsome male models strutted confidently around the stage in Wake Up Pune's infamous "HIV POSITIVE" slogan t-shirts showing their glamorous support of the cause, and helping to show HIV as positive. Two dedicated schools of nursing also contributed an inspirational effort, the Ruby Hall Nurses with a dedicated religious song, which echoed off the walls of the surrounding buildings, and the Sadhu Waswani College Nurses who dazzled with a beautiful classical dance. The crowd's response reflected both the commitment and the enthusiasm that the women demonstrated through their performances. Radraksh Sufi rock band "rocked" the crowd appropriately with a short three song set culminating in a rare public performance by Mr Avinash Chakranarayan, who also compèred the entire show expertly with his trademark good humor and passion for the cause.

(The DISHA ladies wowed the crowds with a Marathi song about HIV)

The honoured guests of the evening were Mr Ajit Shirole and Mrs Chundbi Naddaf, who genially remarked that the Celebration of Life was their first HIV awareness event, and that they had been inspired by the tremendous turnout and response that Deep Griha had generated from the community to become involved in future campaigns and awareness events. The audience showed great appreciation and support of this inspiring public display of allegiance to the cause. Mr Shirole also kindly distributed prizes to the winners of competitions such as mendhi, rangoli and table tennis.

Arguably the highlight of the evening was a deeply moving and poignant tribute from an HIV positive couple. They spoke emotionally about their individual misery upon discovering their HIV positive statuses, and spoke openly and honestly about the suicidal thoughts they both had. However, they asserted that it was the Deep Griha DISHA team's care, experience and commitment - which they display towards all those living with, or coming to terms with HIV - which stood as a light at the end of the tunnel. DISHA provided them with the necessary counseling, medication, nutrition, and support that they needed to feel positive again. And, happily, at Deep Griha's first ever matrimonial event exclusively for HIV positive people, they met, and looking to the future together, decided to get married. The couple therefore stood as a brave and real example to the world, that there is life after HIV...and not just a shadow of a life, but a happy, positive and fulfilling one. Finally, together, husband and wife released a bunch of red and white balloons into the air, symbolic of the freedom and optimism that they, and many other HIV positive people have rediscovered as a direct result of the care and support that they receive from others. Coincidentally, this positive visual metaphor mirrors Deep Griha's own emblem, that of a lighthouse, showing those lost in the darkness, a light to guide them home.


By Ella Foskett-Barnes

Category: DISHA

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