UCD Students volunteering in an orphanage in South East India organised a rally on Tuesday 13th July to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in the region. They brought over 500 singing, dancing and chanting orphans from institutions around the city of Vijayawada through the heart of the city of 1.1 million people.

The ?STOP AIDS? campaign rally succeeded in capturing the imagination of the people of Andhra Pradesh. The City Mayor Muthamsetty Ratna who was at the rally today said that ?the energy of the Irish students has brought new thinking to Vijayawada. NGOs and some of our government agencies have come to support the rally today." National television stations and newspapers have covered this exciting event, bringing the Students' message to over a billion people.

{module Island Banners|xhtml} The 21 UCD Volunteers Overseas students who have been educating children on HIV/AIDS in 'Care and Share' orphanages across the city over the past four weeks organised a mobile testing unit for the rally, allowing onlookers to get their blood tested for the virus free of charge

Organiser of the campaign Donal Hanratty said ?we are delighted with how it went; we have drawn attention to issues surrounding HIV/AIDS in one of the worst affected regions in India. We hope that today was a step in the right direction to eliminate the taboos that surround the disease?.

About Rally Details of rally: Flagged off by: Shri. Peeyush Kumar, I.A.S District Collector & Magistrate - Indian Time : 4.00 p.m. Tuesday 13th July, from Tagore Library, Kakani Bhavan, Near Raghavaiah Park, Bandar Road, Vijayawada, to Lenin Square, Vijayawada.

Population of Andhra Pradesh - 76.2 million

Population of Vijayawada ? 1.1 million

About Care+Share Care+Share is an international NGO based in the city of Vijayawada. Person-to-person sponsorship programs benefit over 6000 children living in the city's slums and nearby villages. Care+Share has rescued over 1000 children from the streets of Vijayawada and given them a home in their orphanages. Orphans attending the rally were predominantly from this organisation.

www.careshareindia.org

About UCD Volunteers Overseas UCD Volunteers Overseas is a charitable organisation, which offers students, staff and alumni of University College Dublin the opportunity to engage in voluntary work in developing countries. They currently have projects in India, Haiti, Nicaragua and Tanzania, and work alongside local communities in carrying out small-scale development projects which respond to local needs.

www.ucdvo.org

About CABA CABA ? Children affected by AIDS is an inter-departmental campaign which aims to help those affected by the disease through education, healthcare, legal aid and psychosocial support. Two regions in the state of Andhra Pradesh along with 11 other regions across India will be used in a pilot project this year to test the efficacy of the campaign. This campaign was launched in Vijayawada and coincided with the rally.



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