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Homearrow News and Events Year 2010 Delhi's refugees take the lead in spreading AIDS awareness

Delhi's refugees take the lead in spreading AIDS awareness

Indian Express
01 December 2010
By Ananya Bhardwaj
New Delhi, India

Red Alert With Unhcr Help, Don Bosco Ashalayam Ropes in Scores of Refugees From Its Centres For Rally to Mark World AIDS Day
Delhi's refugees take the lead in spreading AIDS awareness
LASHING banners and placards which said "Stop AIDS, keep the promise" and "Lets fight against AIDS", scores of refugees from across the city took part in an AIDS awareness rally organised by the Don Bosco Ashalayam in association with the UNHCR on Wednesday.

Most of the 500–odd participants of the rally – which started from Budela village in Vikaspuri – were refugees from Burma, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq and Palestine who now call Delhi home. "The refugees came from different centres and youth clubs run by the Don Bosco Ashalayam in Lajpat Nagar, Wazirabad, Malviya Nagar and Vikaspuri," said Ashir, a vo unteer.

The rally started with Yuva Beats, a band formed by young Afghan refugees, playing popular Hindi numbers. "We are doing our bit for the campaign with our performance. This is to attract more people to join a social cause," sai Khalid, a member of the band.

"I do not know why people are shy of talking about the use of condoms. We are shouting out loud for them to hear," said Hamid, another Afghan refugee. "We are refugees, we have lived through hard times, we know what loss of life means. Even being outsiders we want to be an integral part of this society, we want to help in whatever way we can to create aware ness," said Asmar, a student at Don Bosco Ashalayam.

Delhi's refugees take the lead in spreading AIDS awareness
"We hope we are successful in putting our message across. We want them to know about safe sex," added a Somali refugee. Asked about the purpose of roping in refugees for the rally, event manager Selin said: "The refugee community is very vulnerable. They go through a lot. This rally is just a way to educate them on the whole issue". She added: "It is a creative way of putting your message across. If you make it colourful and in teresting then it becomes easier for us to make them understand the hazards of it and what precautions they need to take."

To mark AIDS awareness week, Don Bosco Ashalayam has also organised sessions, movie screenings, quiz competitions and a red ribbon programme.

"Don Bosco, in association with UNHCR, has set up English language centres, counselling, computer classes and various income generation activities for refugees," said Selin.

The reporter is a student of Express Institute of Media Studies

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