Times of India
27 November 2010
By Kalyani Sardesai
A Marathi street play organised by Wake Up Pune, Deep Griha Society’s AIDS Awareness programme has five foreign student volunteers urging Puneites not to discriminate against the HIV positive.
The play that shows how people stigmatise the HIV positive has been travelling to all nooks and corners of Pune – from Tadiwalla Road and MG Road to Budhwar Peth and Tilak Road – urging people to wake up to the fact that AIDS is not infectious, and that the HIV positive need support, reassurance and care from all quarters.
Of the 10 volunteers acting in the play, five are foreigners. So how did the foreign students learn to speak Marathi? "These volunteers have been in Pune since August, and have been very enthusiastic about learning to converse in the local language. It’s not been too difficult – the meaning of the lines were explained to the actors, after which they practised relentlessly," says Kaustubh Chavan, Deep Griha volunteer.
"The story centres around a young girl, whose life takes a turn after she tests positive for HIV. The play aims to put the spotlight on the fact that the HIV positive are stigmatised and persecuted, ironically, at a time, when they need friends, family and colleagues to stand by them," said Chavan.
While the play is on, other Deep Griha volunteers distribute pamphlets that dispel myths about HIV/AIDS.
"We also answer several queries from the audience pertaining," says Chavan.
The street theatre co–ordinator is Ella Foskett–barnes, while Ryan Beck Turner is the Wake Up Pune co–ordinator.
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