ISLAMABAD: Inspire the love, inside your people,
Our people, equal,
Fighting for all, no steeple no spires,
No more hell-fires and please no more gunfire…
HIV/AIDS is lethal
Tiësto featuring Maxi Jazz – Dance4life
The official Dance4life song best summarises the problem the group hopes to address. Dance4life aims to create one million active agents4change by 2014 as a last call to world leaders to keep their promises on the Millennium Development Goals.
Considering that music is a great attraction for people of all ages, the Dutch-born international campaign Dance4life was launched in Islamabad to use music to raise awareness about HIV/Aids and other youth-related sexual and reproductive health issues.
For this purpose, a Dance4life team came from South Africa and went to the Roots College International Millennium Campus to help students aged between 14 and 17 become agents of change.
The final objective is for these youngsters to go to slums and rural areas to create awareness among children and adults there and to train them on health issues, especially HIV/Aids. The event was organised by Rutgers World Population Foundation (WPF).
Talking about HIV is still taboo in Pakistani society; however, the media is playing a key role in creating grassroots awareness about the disease. However, many are still ignorant of the details of the viral disease. This was glaringly obvious when the Dance4life team asked the students whether they could recognise an HIV-positive person by face, most replied with a confident ‘yes’. In reality, that is an almost impossible feat.
Later, they were asked how much they know about the disease. The majority said they only knew what TV told them.
When asked how many of them can easily discuss sexual or reproductive health problems with their parents, the majority of students were left dumbfounded and only a few said they can, but they also feel shy bringing them up.
Dance4life Master Trainer Peter Schaupp told The Express Tribune, “Pakistan’s youth has great potential to become agents of change and create awareness about health issues, particularly HIV/AIDs. All they need is training and education about the subject.”
He said Dance4life aims to attract people through dance and music and later educate them about health issues.
Schaupp said they are in Pakistan to train facilitators who will further empower youth to become agent of change. Currently they have teams in Lahore, Multan, Quetta and Islamabad.
Rutgers WFP Life Skills Based Education (LSBE) Programme Manager Ayesha Ali said the idea behind focusing on elite schools is that students there have the resources to get information on various health issues which they can later disseminate among underprivileged people.
Edited by: Vaqas Asghar
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2011.