THINK WISE

THINK WISE champion and Sri Lanka captain, Kumar Sangakkara, talking to youngsters at a love Life project, South Africa, about HIV and AIDS awareness.

THINK WISE champion and Sri Lanka captain, Kumar Sangakkara, talking to youngsters at a love Life project, South Africa, about HIV and AIDS awareness.

Sri Lanka cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara, along with Virender Sehwag of India, South Africa’s skipper Graeme Smith, Australia’s Nathan Bracken and Isa Guha, a member of this year’s ICC Women’s World Cup-winning England team, will champion the campaign “THINK WISE” during the event, which began The Oval, London on Thursday 4 June to launch a new HIV initiative ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 2009. This leg of the campaign will aim to confront a lack of education and awareness about HIV and the stigma associated with the virus. The announcement builds on a long-term partnership between the ICC, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UNICEF and the Global Media AIDS Initiative (GMAI) that for more than five years has reached out to the cricketing community to fight the global AIDS crisis.

THINK WISE” started its journey to tackle the lack of education and awareness about HIV, as well as the potential stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS can lead to increased vulnerability to HIV infection.  The ICC has been working with its partners, UNICEF, UNAIDS and the Global Media AIDS Initiative (GMAI) over a number of years to help tackle these issues and encourage healthy decision making by children and young adults.

THINK WISE champion Graeme Smith

THINK WISE champion Graeme Smith

By working with the champions and the partners, the Think Wise initiative aims to: Raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic within the cricket community, Reduce stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease and experienced by those living with and affected by HIV and Help prevent new HIV infection by encouraging informed decision making through targeted education and outreach.

The Think Wise partnership seeks to educate cricket players, coaches, commentators, broadcasters and volunteers about the AIDS epidemic, particularly around prevention, and deliver these messages to fans and the media through major ICC events. The partnership has also embarked on piloting community based cricket for development programmes.  During 2009 the Think Wise partners will be identifying high risk areas and local organizations which will deliver cricket-based HIV prevention and life skills education.

The Think Wise Champions help us to inspire and educate youngsters by giving up their time to help deliver key messages about HIV and AIDS.

THINK WISE champion Kumar Sangakkara says that, “Being socially responsible is really important for me and the cricket community. Initiatives like THINK WISE are vital if we are to address issues around HIV and help empower young people to make informed decisions as they grow up. I am sure that the THINK WISE partnership will continue to expand and that the global cricket community will continue to support this campaign.”

THINK WISE champion Graeme Smith added: “I have seen firsthand the impact that HIV has had in my country. I hope that cricket fans and youngsters around the world can respect the power of the disease and also those living with HIV. By making informed decisions we can help reduce new infections and develop strong communities.”

THINK WISE champion Isa Guha

THINK WISE champion Isa Guha

THINK WISE champion Isa Guha says: “HIV isn’t someone else’s problem. It’s important that cricketers are not only leaders on the pitch but are also leaders off the pitch. I hope that I can encourage girls and young women, in particular, to make sensible life choices.”

You can also see Kumar Sangakkara, Graeme Smith, Isa Guha and Virender Sehwag giving their inspirational thoughts on yahoo.

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