Wednesday, December 5, 2012

World AIDS Day 2012

Last week, I organized a few events at my school in honor of World AIDS Day 2012. As an active member of the HIV/AIDS Working Group in Peace Corps Ukraine, I do my best to try to organize a lot of HIV awareness events and trainings. World AIDS Day is held on December 1st every year, and this year's international theme is "Working Together for an AIDS-Free  Generation". You can read more about World AIDS Day here - or check out what I did at my school last year (Raising Awareness on World AIDS Day).

On Wednesday, I held an after-school event with Liliya Nikolaievna to make red ribbons out of red paper. With the help of a few 11th grade girls who had attended the HIV trainings and/or Camp H.E.A.L. with me, we worked with about 25 students from the 5th grade. 5th graders are crazy and energetic all the time, so having the older girls really helped to keep them focused on the red ribbons instead of getting too excited and  running around like they usually do. We used the same origami red ribbon lesson plan that we used at Mini Camp H.E.A.L., except I cut out all the strips of paper ahead of time to save us some work.

Lina demonstrating how to fold the ribbon. 
Liliya working with a few girls from her 5B class. 
Yulia and Lilia explaining what to write on the ribbons. 
The girls are all finished!
Dasha and Vika are finished with their group too!
The goal of these red ribbons was to write messages of hope and solidarity, since we would be giving the ribbons to the Kharkiv branch of the All-Ukrainian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS. After explaining to the kids what they should write on the ribbons, I learned that not all of the 5th graders knew what HIV or AIDS was (in Russian or Ukrainian), since they have not all been exposed to lessons about it yet. However, some knew exactly what it was, and the older girls also helped explain things to the younger students. This is why it is important to have HIV awareness projects in at the community level, so that everyone in the community can help each other learn about HIV/AIDS and pass on their knowledge.

Our best attempt at making a heart : )
One of the 11th grade girls, Anna, helped me to pin all the red ribbons onto a white lacy curtain and we used it to create a small exhibition on Friday. We had a school-wide poster contest, with the theme "Celebrate Life". We will send our school's winning posters to Kyiv to participate in the national poster contest, which is organized by the HIV/AIDS Working Group. We also pinned red ribbons on everyone to show our support and awareness for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Some 5th graders and I with Larisa Alexandrovna and Alina Vladimirovna. 
Liliya pinning a ribbon. 

with some 9th grade girls. 
8th grade girls. 

After school, I collected all the posters and Liliya and I decided the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners for the older (7th-11th grade)/younger students category. I am proud of my students for helping me out and for creating awesome posters! Its great to end my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer with a positive event : )


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