This year, we are official partner of the 22nd International AIDS Conference that takes place in Amsterdam. On this occasion, we invited a total of 300 volunteers from all over the world to join us, present their projects and to network. We want the voice of youth to be heard not only in Amsterdam, but everywhere. Because we are the generation that can end AIDS. And these are our stories …
Hey everyone, my name is Vivian Kirira and I’m from Nakuru, Kenya.
I’m really thankful that I get the opportunity to join YAA at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. Kenya is a country where AIDS is still one of the leading causes of death among young people due to ignorance. Yet, most of the people are blinded by cultural norms and values .They do believe that having HIV or AIDS is a curse that has nothing to do with unprotected sex and using contraceptives is a taboo. This makes it very hard to convince the youths of scientific facts because most of them lack knowledge and empowerment. Still, I wanna help them to make the right decisions in life and fight exactly those kinds of stereotypes.
Ignorance and lack of knowledge
Therefore, I started a small project by myself. My main objective is to help the youths to know the benefits of staying healthy. I want to help them to feel secure and protected when they experience their sexuality. That’s not easy in a society where many young people die everyday due to ignorance, lack of knowledge and empowerment. This worries me a lot, because they are our feature. And if they don’t take responsibility for themselves, no one will. My greatest fear is that most of these young people still feel unrecognised in the society. This makes it hard convincing them to be outspoken and to feel empowered to speak out loud to the society and ask for help or assistance
You can always count on your family
Despite all the problems, I can count my family as the biggest supporters I ever had. They help me a lot when it comes to trying to reach and empower young people each and everyday. This keeps me motivated to keep moving forward and always live positively. By confirming my attendance to the AIDS conference, YAA has also supported me a lot already. Though, I hope that I get the chance to learn something new, increase my knowledge and also feel empowered on how I will continue my project and reach even more young people after the conference.
What I wish for
I always wanted to let the world know that Africans are not different from the rest of the world. The stereotype that most Africans are infected with deadly diseases should end. It’s just that there are places in Africa where people totally have no knowledge about sexual diseases or contraception. That is why I really want to reach out to them to make them feel and believe that they are also part of the civilised society. I want to make a change to the upcoming generation and help to lead to a better and healthier life.
Do what you want. Do it with love, respect and condoms.
This post was written by Jugend gegen AIDS Blog