Raising Awareness in Local Schools:
On November 30th, on the eve of World AIDS Day, Caris employees presented to Bridge Academy students on a variety of subjects related to HIV/AIDS. The 40 students were 14 and 15 years old and enjoyed learning about World AIDS Day.
After a brief introduction and discussion on HIV prevention and treatment, Caris representatives passed out a questionnaire on basic HIV/AIDS knowledge that children could fill out as a team. The team with the most correct answers received congratulatory chocolate. After discussing the questions as a class, Caris then presented a short film on the history of the virus, which included Haiti-relevant excerpts.
Before the end of the session, the students submitted anonymous questions on small sheets of paper. Caris staff responded to these questions for the group, without any child feeling targeted or stigmatized because of his/her question.
Caris has similar activities planned with three other local schools in Port-au-Prince during the week of December 1st. These sessions with Haitian teens will help increase communities’ understanding of the virus and will help eliminate myths about AIDS.
World AIDS Day in Port-au-Prince:
On December 1st, Caris attended a commemorative event on World AIDS Day in Port-au-Prince. A number of NGOs and international donors attended, including UNAIDS, Haiti’s National Program against AIDS (PNLS), the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP), the U.S. Embassy, and All In.
The program included talks from representatives from the U.S. Embassy, UNAIDS, and MSPP. The Director General of MSPP stressed the importance of a holistic approach to combatting AIDS, involving educating communities and strengthening entire health systems. Several people living with HIV also provided testimonies about their experiences with stigmatization at school and in the work place.