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10 December 2010

World Aids Day 2010

At 10am on Wednesday 1st December, World Aids Day 2010, individual Puneites, local businesses and NGOs joined together at Shaniwarwada Fort to march through Pune in a bid to increase awareness and education about HIV and the issues that surround it.

Clad in the infamous Wake Up Pune 'HIV Positive' t-shirts and accompanied by the DISHA ladies in their striking red saris, DISHA and Wake Up Pune were at the fore of the activity; chanting slogans like “Pune Karano – Jaage vha!” (Puneites – Wake Up!), waving banners and distributing condoms, leaflets and ribbons to the people of Pune as they looked on in stunned silence.

(The DISHA ladies doing their bit to spread awareness)

The march, though impressive in it's own right, was merely the tip of the iceberg when it came to DISHA and Wake Up Pune's awareness activities for World Aids Day: a fitting culmination to the many activities undertaken as part of 'Join the Fight Fortnight'.

'Join the Fight Fortnight' had seen a plethora of different activities and events aimed at reaching far and wide into every corner and social class of Pune. Commuters in Deccan were treated to some stunning Rangoli, whilst shoppers at the rural bazaars of Supa and Urlikanchan were witness to a four roomed 'Stigma Tunnel' which gave those who entered it a first hand theatrical experience of the stigma, ignorance and isolation those with HIV often encounter due to societies lack of knowledge and awareness of the virus.

. The completed second rangoli.

(One of the two beautiful Rangolis designed around the Deccan Junction part of Pune)

Elsewhere DISHA staff commandeered rickshaws rigged with amplifiers to spread the word throughout Pune whilst a number of overseas volunteers went in to several local schools to deliver 'HIV Bootcamps' to the children and teacher training. Finally over one thousand Puneites were witness to the volunteers street play, a two and a half minute piece of disruptive theatre that underlined the need for people to challenge their own preconceptions about the virus and those who live with it.

Having reached in excess of 3,000 Puneites, inspired a deluge of press coverage and spread the 'HIV Positive' message throughout Pune, there can be no doubting the success of DISHA and Wake Up Punes World Aids Day events in 2010. This success was compounded just three days later when DISHA hosted its annual Celebration of Life 2010 for almost 500 residents of Tadiwala Road community. The eagerly anticipated show featured dances from local performers, sponsor children and overseas volunteers. It also included songs, street plays, and a recently married HIV positive couple who had met at a DISHA's Matrimonial event. All who attended witnessed the joy and energy of those living positively with HIV, and Deep Griha's very own Ella Foskett-Barnes has captured this beautifully in her article about the event.

Category: Events

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