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Posts Tagged ‘children and young people’

Positive People- Overcoming Prejudice

Friday, July 31st, 2009

By Cassandra Tse

HIV and AIDS can affect anyone. Since it was first reported in the 1980s, myths and mistruths have sprung up about the condition leading to ignorance and discrimination. This ignorance has, in part, led to the spread of HIV and AIDS throughout the world and prejudice has made many people who know little about the condition blame or ostracise the victim.

Young survivors of HIV and AIDS, also known as “positive people”, face more than a life threatening condition. The attitudes of those around them can cause just as much suffering. The courageous young people who have to cope with this illness every day of their lives deserve our admiration.


“I received HIV through breastfeeding from my mom and my mom received it through a blood transfusion. When the doctor told me, I froze, then bent my head and cried… I looked at my mom and her eyes were full of tears.”
Haylie, 14

However, people with HIV can live ordinary, even extraordinary lives. Being HIV-positive doesn’t mean you cannot live until old age, find understanding and support, and fulfil your dreams of a starting a family, or building a successful career - it’s possible to rise above this hurdle. Fifteen-year-old Nic wrote about her life as a “positive person” on, a website dedicated to young HIV and AIDS sufferers:

“Live life to the fullest and never give up on your dreams. I know I haven’t. I wake up every morning and I tell myself that I’m going to live one more day, if only to see my friends embarrass themselves again, or to walk down the hall at school screaming rock songs at top my lungs. I know that one day, I will die, but I plan to life a live that is as full as I can make it.”
Nic, 15.

Some Facts

  1. The UN Convention for the Rights of the Child is the most subscribed to human rights treaty in history - only two countries are yet to adopt it: the United States and Somalia.pills
  2. One out of six children in the world today is involved in child labour, doing work that is damaging to his or her mental, physical and emotional development.
  3. The UN Convention for the Rights of the Child is the most subscribed to human rights treaty in history - only two countries are yet to adopt it: the United States and Somalia.
  4. One out of six children in the world today is involved in child labour, doing work that is damaging to his or her mental, physical and emotional development.
  5. Worldwide, it is estimated that 2.1 million young people are living with HIV, while more than 15 million children under 18 have been orphaned as a result of AIDS.


  • Stop and think about the young people In New Zealand and all over the world that face adversity everyday!
  • Discuss the issues with other young people at
  • Try and raise awareness about the issues - talk to your friends, lobby influential people to support the cause, share your opinion in the local media or online.
  • Join the fight against discrimination and prejudice, at the Global Youth Coalition on HIV and AIDS


Find out more about the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Unite for Children against AIDS -
Human Rights Watch - - child labour

This article was originally published in the Global Focus pages of Tearaway Magazine.

Start dancing - Stop AIDS

Friday, July 17th, 2009

By Joy Foster Christie

aids_ribbonHIV and AIDS
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) first appeared in the USA in the early 1980s and was officially recognised by scientists several years later. As HIV reproduces, it damages the body’s immune system and the human body slowly becomes more and more susceptible to infection and illness. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the advanced state of HIV infection.

The infections associated with AIDS are severe, and usually lead to premature death. There is no cure. HIV is spread through infected blood and can be caught by having unprotected sex with an HIV positive person. The sharing of needles and syringes can also transmit the disease, as can childbirth and breastfeeding.

In 2007, there were over 33 million people living with HIV. More than 59% of those infected were living in Sub-Saharan Africa, the  most heavily affected region in the world.

HIV and young people
Every time a person dies of HIV and AIDS related illnesses, a family and community are affected. The impact of HIV and AIDS on young people is the most severe, particularly due to rising numbers being orphaned because of the disease. Young people are left in a vulnerable position with no adults to care for them. They are also affected by discrimination because of stigma attached to having HIV or AIDS, or losing their parents to AIDS.

Photo: Reza Vaziri

Photo: Reza Vaziri

Many are denied schooling because they may be sick themselves, their teachers are sick, or they may have to stay home to care for their siblings or sick parents. These issues, as well as financial strains such as the cost of medical care and funerals, put many children and young people at risk and further deepen poverty.

The power of dance
Dance has long been a way of identifying and expressing culture. It plays an important role in society, not only preserving culture, but also recording new ideas and acting as a way to communicate.

Dance in indigenous cultures is performed to keep culture alive, to pass on stories to young people and teach them about their culture,

values and beliefs. It is used as a form of social interaction, and can express ideas and emotions or tell a story. In a way, dance equalises people and social differences, and reduces barriers. Around the world, dance is being used as a way to raise awareness and understanding of HIV and AIDS.

Dance4Life is an initiative set up to get young people to stand up against the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Beginning as nothing but a  dream of two men, Dance4Life developed into such a compelling idea that hundreds of thousands of people around the world have now turned the dream into a reality.

Dance4Life uses dance to get young people involved and inspired to help fight AIDS. Educators, dancers and musicians teach young people how to speak to an audience, tell a story and raise awareness with their dancing. Dance4life gives young people the chance to learn life skills and offers them the opportunity to become an Agent of Change and transform the world they live in today.

An Agent of Change is a young person who gets actively involved and participates in the Schools4Life activities, which use dance, media and music to promote a message of personal and community responsibility.

By 2014 Dance4Life aims to have one million agents worldwide, a goal that seems possible with over 55,000 youth becoming agents since 2003. Dance4Life targets young people due to the majority of new HIV infections every day being in people under 25 years of age. “Young people are the future and they have the power to halt the spread of HIV and AIDS. By uniting all over the world and demanding change, they can make a difference.” (Dance4life)dance_logo

Each and every one of us has the ability to make changes in our lives and contribute to the global fight against HIV and AIDS. By learning more about the disease you will become more aware of the risks and will better prepared to take care of yourself and help others.  Other ways in which you can raise awareness and educate your friends and family are listed below:

  • Discuss HIV and AIDS with family and friends. Talk to your class about the issue, and encourage people to look beyond the stereotypes and stigma attached to HIV and AIDs.
  • Raise money for an AIDS charity, or just raise awareness at your school by organising a dance-a-thon at your school. By organising a dance, you will raise awareness about the disease itself and show others how helping fight AIDS can be as simple as getting your dance shoes on. Get in touch with your school committee or other group that can help you plan the event.
  • Write an article for your local newspaper, either raising awareness about HIV and AIDS or the ways in which dance can be used as a way of doing so.
  • If you are really serious about the issue join a global campaign and contribute to the worldwide effort  to start really making at difference you want to see.

If you want to learn more about HIV and AIDS, about the history of dance, or learn how you can raise awareness here are some sites that may help:

The foundation for AIDS research
World AIDS Day -

Indigenous dance: Traditional and Contemporar
History of Dance

This article was originally published in the Global Focus pages of Tearaway Magazine.

Take it Personally

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

take_photo1Anita Roddick of The Body Shop fame has created a work of art with this book, putting images and phrases together, such as, fashion and victim which show us how we have lost perspective of the real world.

Roddick has always tried to conduct business in a personal way, but has found that the business world is dominated by the faceless, and relentless advance of globalisation. This is a world of secret, impersonal committees, who do not take their social responsibilities seriously. The focus is on profit. Without more openness and democracy, she says, the world will be unable to deal with the serious crisis brought on us by globalisation.

You can join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

YWCA of Aotearoa-New Zealand (YWCA and Y-Dub)

Friday, February 20th, 2009

What do they do?
The YWCA of Aotearoa-New Zealand work to empower women, especially young women, to reach their potential. They acknowledge their Christian and women’s heritage and commit themselves to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to addressing all forms of oppression so that women together may attain social and economic justice.

How can I get involved?

There are nine YWCA Local Associations around Aotearoa-New Zealand, each offering valuable programmes and community services.

Check out the local association web sites here to discover what they are doing in your community.


Friday, February 20th, 2009

What do they do?
The New Zealand YMCA is a community organisation, based on Christian principles, which aims to enable individuals and families to develop physically, mentally and spiritually and enjoy a healthy quality of life.

How can I get involved?

YMCA is represented all around NZ, and they run a variety of programmes depending on the needs of that particular community. One programme that is currently run in many YMCA centres is ‘Raise up and Represent’.

The aim of Raise Up is to support youth in being physically fit, to encourage personal ownership and leadership, and to foster a sense of pride and respect for themselves, and the communities in which they live. YMCA are often searching for student leaders to help plan and implement Environmentally focused youth initiatives and activities for youth in their community. Contact your nearest YMCA for more info.

World Vision

Friday, February 20th, 2009

What do they do?
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome extreme poverty and injustice. World Vision New Zealand currently supports more than 70 projects in more than 25 countries.

How can I get involved?

  • Sponsoring a Child
  • Getting involved in a Charity Challenge (biking round Cambodia or climbing Mt Kilamanjaro are a few examples)
  • Volunteer to help run World Vision programmes in NZ
  • Participating in/running a 40-hour Famine
  • Donating directly
  • Getting involved in World Vision advocacy campaigns
  • Joining/starting a World Vision group at your school or university

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)

Friday, February 20th, 2009

What do they do?
UNICEF - the United Nations Children’s Fund - is the world’s leading agency for children. UNICEF works closely with children, women and communities as well as governments, other UN agencies, faith-based groups, non-government organisations and the private sector to create a better world for every child.

How can I get involved?

Fundraise – Put the ‘fun’ back into fundraising!  Take part in a run, cycle, or swim while raising money for UNICEF.  It’s easy to make your own fundraising web page!

Campaign for Change - Make some noise and help shape better policies and practices for children.  Whether you write to your local MP about an issue affecting children, fill out one of our surveys or sign a petition, you’re helping affect change for a new generation of kids.  Join UNICEF’s Campaigners for Change by emailing for further updates.

Buy an Inspired GiftDoes your Dad need another pair of socks?  Why not help girls in Ghana go to school instead?  Purchase a bicycle for a girl in Ghana from our online shop and help give a better future to children!

- Your donation will go further with UNICEF! For every dollar donated, we can leverage $10 for children who need your help.

Volunteer - There are a number of ways that you can get involved with UNICEF NZ as a volunteer:

  • You can help out in their Wellington office with administration duties
  • You can help them with fundraising events
  • If you think you have some specific skills and experience that will be of value to them then you can apply for an internship

Trade Aid

Friday, February 20th, 2009

What do they do?
Trade Aid is a New Zealand founded, alternative trading organisation which has been working with craft producers and small farmers in developing countries around the world for 35 years. Trade Aid currently has 32 retail shops in both the North and South Islands and runs an extensive public education programme which aims to equip New Zealanders to speak out for greater justice in world trade.

How can I get involved?

Shop at Trade Aid! =D

Volunteer for Trade Aid - At Trade Aid there are opportunities to be a retail volunteer, speaker about Trade Aid issues to community or school groups, campaigner, education team member or a trustee. Get in touch with your local shop and see what you can get involved with today, sign up on-line at or pop in for a chat.

Save the Children

Friday, February 20th, 2009


What do they do?
Save the Children are a humanitarian organization that fights for children’s rights, both in New Zealand and overseas. They desire to see a world which respects and values each child, a world which listens to children and learns, and a world where all children have hope and opportunity.
How can I get involved?
Sponsor a Child - Help transform the lives of vulnerable children. You can either sponsor a child in a region of your choice, or nominate the money to go to the area of greatest need.
Shop – there are 33 shops all across New Zealand, which all sell quality products for mums, dads, children, grandparents and friends at competitive prices. They are run by volunteers and the funds raised help with Save the Children’s work around the world.
Volunteer your time – You can help with a wide variety of fund-raising activites, such as advocacy and awareness raising, staffing a STC shop, or collecting during their Annual Appeal.
Apply for a Small Grants Fund - Save the Children will fund local initiatives that make lasting benefits for children and young people by building their capacity to reach their full potential. If you are under 18 you can still apply, but you are required to partner with a registered organisation for financial and other support.

Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa/New Zealand

Friday, February 20th, 2009


What do they do?
This is the arm of the Quakers (The Religious Society of Friends) in Aotearoa New Zealand that deals with social justice issues. They aim to give service and create peace in Quakerly ways.

How can I get involved?
If you are a young Quaker (aged between approximately 16 and 39) you can join the ‘Young Friends’. Regular meetings are held in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. At their annual camps, held over Easter, Young Friends have speakers come and talk to the group, where there will tend to be discussion on important issues related to justice and peace. Young Friends also pay to offset their carbon from camps, and aim to shop local and eat vegetarian as a means of reducing damage to the Earth.