4 December 2005
World AIDS Day: DISHA Rally and Celebration of Life
1 December was World AIDS Day, which DISHA (Deep Griha's Integrated Service for HIV/AIDS) marked with two highly successful events.In the morning, things kicked off with a well-attended rally, starting at the Family Welfare Centre before continuing through the neighbourhood. The procession picked up plenty of support along the way from local schools and community members. Along the route, curious onlookers were given factsheets and handouts about HIV/AIDS, and invited to swell the numbers. Back at the Family Welfare Centre, the drums came out from somewhere and there was some impressive dancing from the ever-energetic DISHA team members...In the evening, the long-awaited Celebration of Life proved to be a real success, with over 2,000 people attending the show organised right in the heart of the Tadiwala Road slum - the vast majority from the Tadiwala Road area itself.After an opening song from the DISHA team, Errol and the boys from the Sahara Care Home really got the crowd going with a couple of dance routines from popular Hindi hits. One of the standout moments was when three women from Tadiwala Road came up on stage and addressed the community, announcing their HIV+ status. With the high levels of stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, this would have been unthinkable just a year ago. Testimony to the women themselves, it also demonstrates the impact DISHA is already having in spreading awareness and tackling discrimination. Deep Griha's international volunteers performed 'True Colours' to popular acclaim before a prize distribution for the children involved in the Street Play Competition, followed by a performance of the winning play. The finalists in the DISHA Cricket Challenge Trophy also came up to receive their trophies and certificates, courtesy of chief guest Mr Chandu Borde. Mukesh and his dancers then performed a powerful theme dance about HIV/AIDS, before things were wrapped up with a vote of thanks and the national anthem, led by the DISHA fieldworkers. Everyone enjoyed the proceedings and 'Celebration of Life' could not have been a more appropriate name. Here's to the 2006 show...