The Ministry of Education’s HIV and AIDS Response Programme is working with the National HIV/STI Programme to create safe spaces for young people in and out of school who are living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
This year, the national theme for World AIDS Day, which is celebrated on December 1, is “Yes I can….Support someone living with HIV”. As such, to commemorate International World AIDS Day 2009, the Ministry of Education will be hosting a National World AIDS Day Event, which focuses on stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV and AIDS, on Friday, November 27, 2009 at the Tarrant High School from 7:30am to 2:30pm.
The Ministry will be collaborating with various Government and Non-Government Organizations, as well as international Development Partners, UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNFPA and the Global Fund to facilitate an all-day intervention at the school to:
1. Raise awareness among students and teachers about HIV and AIDS.
2. Promote the alleviation of stigma and discrimination within the context of the school environment while developing life-skills in students.
3. Launch the Youth-friendly version of the National Policy for the Management of HIV and AIDS in Schools.
4. Provide a forum for the dissemination of IEC materials.
All teachers at the institution will be relieved of their duties for the day, and classroom sessions will be facilitated by trained peer educators and other resource persons from participating organizations.
Lessons will be facilitated using various forms of interactive teaching methodology associated with the Ministry’s Health and Family Life Education Programme, and will include :
- HIV/AIDS Basic Facts
- Discouraging Social Myths
- Stigma and Discrimination against Persons Living with HIV and AIDS
In addition to activities which focus on the theme for the day, the Ministry will also be facilitating empowerment sessions with male and female students at the institution. Surprise female athletes from MVP Track Club will be participating in a special session with young girls from Tarrant.
An outside broadcast from the school compound will also be conducted on RJR 94FM from 5:00am to 10:00am.
To end the day a short concert featuring artistes from the RETV School tour will be held to promote abstinence among the student population.
In addition to the national event, the Ministry of Education has partnered with The National Secondary Students Council (NSSC) and Mustard Seed Communities to support several children living with HIV who were displaced when fire destroyed the residential facilities at Martha’s House in Kingston earlier this year.
In line with the national theme for this year’s activity, Yes!…I can help a child living with HIV, The NSSC will identify Red Ribbon Ambassadors in all schools, who will be required to read a Declaration of Support on December 1, 2009, to the entire school and solicit support from the student population by collecting coins in specially marked cans. Students who are able to support the cause will be given a sticker (see attached) bearing the theme for World AIDS Day 2009.
The objectives of this particular initiative are to:
• help students demonstrate positive attitudes toward persons living with and affected by HIV and AIDS;
• take actions to help someone living with HIV and AIDS;
• show empathy and support for families affected by HIV and AIDS;
• demonstrate awareness of stigma and discrimination experienced by persons living with HIV.