The Hindu: Novel AIDS campaign all set to roll

Novel AIDS campaign all set to roll

M. Dinesh Varma

Street plays, slide shows and top-down training initiatives in corporate houses planned

CHENNAI: A canny mix of fundamental and out-of-the-box communication strategies will push a month-long HIV/AIDS awareness campaign being launched by Scope International, a subsidiary of Standard Chartered Bank.

A stilt-walk on Nungambakkam High Road to highlight the red ribbon cause marked the start of a sustained drill to get people to pause and think about HIV/AIDS. More is to follow in the form of street plays, slide shows for cinema halls and top-down training initiatives in corporate houses.

`Living with HIV’, one of the two major Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives identified by the organisation, will reach out to a cross-section of people over the next month or so with a communication strategy ranging from street theatre to college visits and slide shows for film audiences.

“One of our focus groups will be women and children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS,” said Shashi Ravichandran, who heads Scope’s Corporate Affairs in Chennai. Most women infected by spouses have no support mechanisms, to compound the social scorn. Scope plans to help such women put their lives back on the rails and also provide for their children’s education.

Scope has partnerships with NGOs such as Nalamdana and Positive Women Network to spread messages on HIV/AIDS in peripheral communities around the city.

Corporate houses are an important port of call for the resource persons at Scope who have been groomed as trainers in HIV/AIDS education. The employee base in most companies, especially in the IT sector, is not only vast but also young. It is absolutely vital to put across to this vibrant segment of the workforce the right messages of what HIV/AIDS is and what it isn’t, said Ms. Ravichandran

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