Human Touch to Organise the First Goa Red Ribbon
The NGO Human Touch has been striving persistently to enable HIV+ children to carve out a future filled with hope and joy for themselves, rather than living a life of trepidation. Peter F Borges, the CEO and founder of Human Touch, has utilised his Master of Social Work degree in the best manner possible. His tireless efforts have provided HIV+ children opportunities through various camps and personality building programmes to allow them to navigate through life’s pitfalls.
The most recent example of this is the 3rd I CAN leadership camp, which is underway at Nature’s Nest, Surla. The camp, organised by the Human Touch Foundation, began on the 13th of November and will continue until the 17th. The four-day residential camp has 30 adolescents living with HIV from the state of Goa participating in it.
‘Adolescents living with HIV face unique challenges when it comes to coping with their condition. Many of them are in denial, afraid, misinformed or lack familial or social support. Reaching youngsters at an impressionable age can lay the foundations for a responsible lifestyle, including sex and marriage. The right information, an enabling environment, and support services help adolescents take informed decisions regarding important health issues and contribute to a better future’, says Peter.
The camp will provide the youngsters with a lifetime of fun, friendship, and memories. Sessions at the camp are focused on building self-confidence by developing time-management skills, goal-setting abilities, and self-esteem. There are sessions concentrating on sexuality, relationships, career, gender, and entrepreneurship as well. These programmes and sessions will give these adolescents a head start in helping them reach their dreams. Also, there are sessions on treatment adherence, disclosure, and sexual and reproductive health.
The camp is supported by Commscope India Pvt. Ltd, GKB Lenses Pvt. Ltd, Rotary Club of Panjim Riviera and Youth LEAD.
Another programme on the cards for the Human Touch Foundation is the first Goa Red Ribbon Festival. The festival is to be held on the 1st of December 2018 to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS at Jardim Garcia de Orta, Panjim from 9.30am–10.30pm.
The major themes of this festival include improving the quality of life of those living with HIV, especially children, testing and counselling, fast-track elimination of the epidemic, stigma and discrimination, PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis – this is when people at high risk for HIV take the related medicines daily to decrease chances of infection), etc. The festival is structured around interactive sessions based on the themes, exhibits, games, film screenings, stage entertainment and mascots. Some of the partners in the festival include the Goa State AIDS Control Society, the Family Welfare Bureau, the Directorate of Health Services and the Department of Revised National TB Control Program. Some of the activities happening at the event are:
1) Section 377 and HIV
2) Transgender People, Rights and HIV Vulnerability
3) Let’s Talk Sex
4) Beyond Blame: Challenging HIV Criminalisation
Dances and Other Activities:
1) Move for the Cause – Zumba
2) Flash mob – On Invitation
3) Street Play – On Invitation
4) Screening of One Minute Film Winning Entries
5) Candlelight Memorial (Evening)
6) Evening Concert
Creatives and Competitions:
1) Face Painting (On the spot)
3) Selfie with Red Ribbon
4) Red Ribbon Tree
5) Human Red Ribbon Formation
6) Written Quiz on HIV
7) Kick Stigma (Game)
8) Condom Dress
9) T Shirt Painting
Human Touch has been working in Goa since 2013 and implements the ‘We Care’ project, providing care and support to over 300 children and adolescents living with HIV in Goa. The public are encouraged to attend the Goa Red Ribbon Festival and to educate themselves so as to be able to rid our society of the scourge of HIV, protect our young people from the consequences of it and eliminate the social stigma attached to the HIV+ status.