23 May 2012

Wake Up Pune 2012

This year DGS staff and volunteers have been incredibly busy with the Wake Up Pune campaign which coincided with Global Aids Action Week, 2012. Events were planned throughout last week at different locations around Pune city.

Fundraiser for MELAVA at High Spirits

On the evening of  Friday 11th May, a fundraiser for Wake Up Pune and DISHA’s annual matrimonial event MELAVA was held at High Spirits in Koregaon Park.
The fundraiser consisted of a live performance by “The Collective,” a great band who played R&B and Blues songs, including those by James Brown, Etta James, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones. The band performed from 9:30 to 10:45pm to an energetic and enthusiastic crowd. A table by the front door held “HIV POSITIVE” t-shirts, free condoms, red ribbons, a questionnaire about the realities of HIV in Maharashtra and the international community, and brochures for the different programs offered by Wake Up Pune and DISHA. Many people approached members of the Wake Up Pune team with questions and doubts about HIV/AIDS.
With an entry fee of Rs 300, the event managed to raise Rs 60 820 towards MELAVA, Wake Up Pune. DISHA would like to extend a big thank you to High Spirits for their generous facilitation of the event!

Green Tara Foundation Boot Camp

On Monday 14th May, from 3 to 5 pm, Wake Up Pune held a HIV bootcamp for the Green Tara Foundation for women's empowerment. The Green Tara Foundation provides education and support for adolescent girls from underprivilegedcommunities, and works to build the self-awareness and capacities of the girls so that in the future they are able to be independent and confident. This is done through activities such as computer classes, bank and police station visits, gender awareness programs and vocational training. The bootcamp was conducted partially in Marathi, and partially in English translated to Marathi by one of Wake Up Pune’s volunteers.
The bootcamp was held for 20 girls, and the basics of HIV infection, transmission, and stigma were actively and enthusiastically discussed. The girls were very responsive to the information given them, and enjoyed learning about safer sex practices, including a condom demonstration about the dangers of oil-based lubricant on latex condoms! They were quick to pick up on the basics of HIV transmission, and had some very interesting comments on the presence of stigma their communities.

2012 Signature Campaign

On Tuesday 15th May, DISHA and Wake Up Pune held an awareness-raising signature campaign on Laxmi Road in front of Shivkala Shoe Centre. Volunteers spread a sheet on the ground with a 'stop-discrimination' message on it, and invited passers-by to sign the sheet. By signing the sheet, individuals vowed that: “I will not discriminate against people living with HIV. I will fight for the rights of people living with HIV. I will disseminate correct information about HIV/AIDS. I will help my friends, family and community by spreading information about HIV/AIDS.”
The response was enormous, and a range of people (from police workers to chai-wallahs to people on motorbikes) stopped to take a brochure for DISHA or Wake Up Pune and signed up for this great campaign. Upwards of 200 people signed the poster! There was a lot of interest from people on the busy street, and volunteers did a great job of starting discussions about HIV/AIDS and handing out information. A huge thank you is owed to Chandan, the proprietor of Shiv Kala Shoe Centre, for his incredible support during this awareness event!

Awareness  Raising Street Theater

On Wednesday 16th May, volunteers and workers from DISHA and Wake Up Pune went out into the Tadiwala community to perform a street theatre piece. The play was performed twice, with DISHA workers announcing the performances through a bullhorn.
The play, which depicts the struggles of an HIV positive man as he tries to get married and, in the process, encounters a great deal of stigma and prejudice against him. The communities were very receptive to the play, with large crowds (and many children!) gathering to watch. The audiences enjoyed the plays, laughing, clapping and responding as the story unfolded. Street theatre provides an excellent opportunity for DISHA to provide information about HIV, educate about stigma and inform communities about the services available through DISHA and Deep Griha.

Live Installation

On Thursday 17th  May,  volunteers from DISHA and Wake Up Pune held a live installation in Koregaon Park to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in Maharashtra. Volunteers sat on the pavement with their eyes and mouths covered by ribbons that read “HIV,” and their hands bound by red ribbons, symbolizing the oppressive and silencing effects that HIV’s stigma has on individuals.

The installation, which was held on one of the busiest streets in Koregaon Park, attracted a lot of interest from pedestrians and motorists, many of whom stopped to ask for more information about the installation and the work done by DISHA and Wake Up Pune.

DGS would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in all DISHA/Wake Up Pune events as they helped to make it such a successful and enjoyable week.

By Katherine Shwetz
Category: DISHA

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