“Together we are the solution”, was the slogan for the International Candlelight Memorial 2009. It is particularly pertinent for the Candlelight Event where a coalition of agencies working in the fields of SRH, HIV & AIDS, Sexuality and Youth Issues has come together to conduct events across Sri Lanka, leading up to World AIDS Day on December 1st 2010.

PLHIV in Sri Lanka require nutritional support, more comprehensive access to treatment, psycho-social support, economic rehabilitation and all other facets of ‘positive living’ that are currently unavailable to them. Together we are the solution, Together we can. This Candlelight Event can form the basis of a campaign in terms of awareness and advocacy that can change the way PLHIV are perceived, and also challenge the stigma and discrimination faced by marginalised groups such as the LGBTIQ community and other MARPs in Sri Lanka.

The collaboration is facilitated through the National Youth Coalition of Sri Lanka (NYCSL), a youth organization focused on furthering the SRH rights of youth. It is hoped that more agencies will join as this event (just one of the more to come) gathers momentum leading up to World AIDS Day. The strength of the coalition of this nature lies not merely in resource mobilisation but rather in the possibility of a collective, unified voice.

NYCSL members also have experience with a similar initiative last year as well as initiatives such as “Wake Up Pune” which consisted of a multi-sectoral approach involving the NGO, corporate and educational sectors in Pune, India.

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