On behalf of the National Youth Coalition of Sri Lanka on Sexual & Reproductive Health and its affiliated organizations it’s with great pleasure that, we invite you and your respective organization to be a part of the International Candlelight Memorial Event 2010 to be held at the Galle Face Green on Sunday, May 23rd.
In an effort to raise the bar on Sri Lanka’s response to HIV & AIDS, a group of local organizations, actively work in the field of HIV & AIDS, Sexuality and Sexual Reproductive Rights (SRH) have come together to form one collective voice! This coalition who have adopted the slogan ‘Together We Are the Solution’ as their mantra, believes in consistent and clear messages in terms of advocacy and awareness on HIV & AIDS, Sexuality and SRH.
Whilst Sri Lanka remains “a low prevalence” country HIV & AIDS infections are on the rise, 137 new infections were reported in 2009. Moreover, if we are to learn the lessons from other South Asian nations like India, a country that has a “low prevalence” of HIV should strive to remain a “low prevalence” country. Awareness, education and advocacy are needed now!
The HIV & AIDS response thus far in Sri Lanka has been focused mainly on most at risk populations (MARPS) e.g. Commercial sex workers, Intravenous Drug users, trishaw drivers, beach boys, etc. however the coalition believes that all populations matter, especially the youth, if we are to arrest the spread of HIV in our country. The marginalization of MARPS, the stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV (PLHIV) results from the silence and ignorance that surrounds issues related to HIV, sex and sexuality.
The coalition wants to go beyond isolated workshops, events that spring up around World AIDS Day, and seeks to challenge the young people and not so young people of our country to LEARN MORE! STAND UP! & SPEAK OUT! To remove the culture of silence and fear that surrounds HIV, sex and sexuality and to move towards and equitable society for all.
With the technical and financial support from FPA Sri Lanka and Standard Chartered Bank in Sri Lanka, Together We Are The Solution is to have its program at the Galle Face Green on the 23rd of May 2010.
A team of volunteers from across the island will be trained in handling the event and activities, as Together We Are the Solution believes in clear and consistent messaging in their education and awareness programmes. Volunteers will first be trained in Colombo at the FPA Sri Lanka, 37/27, Bullers Lane, Colombo 07 on the 23rd May. The programme at the Galle Face Green will commence at 3.00 p.m. on the 23rd May culminating with the candlelight memorial at 7.30 p.m. in order to commemorate the people who lost their lives due to HIV and AIDS and was stigmatized as a result of their HIV status.
read the complete press release here