Cricketers and film stars endorse signature campaign proclaiming “no discrimination”
The campaign is an initiative of AIDS Prevention and Control Project — Voluntary Health Services
CHENNAI: For children living with HIV/AIDS, it is a rare opportunity to meet cricketers, face to face, shake hands with them and wish them well for their upcoming match.
On Monday, some such children in Chennai got to do just that. Their innocent acceptance of their place in society said it all. They sat quietly watching wide-eyed as celebrities came up on stage to make speeches against discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS in society. When they were called, the children met the stars.
It left nobody in doubt that it was for the celebrated, the educated and the powerful to get across the message that these children were victims of a disease not of their making. Across the world, people living with HIV/AIDS are discriminated against, some of the dignitaries pointed out. But it leaves a scar on children’s mind as they don’t know what they are being penalised for.
When Indian test cricket team skipper Anil Kumble, ace batsman Virender Sehwag and former test cricketer Krish Srikkanth endorsed the signature campaign ‘We will not discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS’ on Monday, they turned role models for their admirers.
The signature campaign is an initiative of AIDS Prevention and Control Project-Voluntary Health Services that is supported by a host of film personalities, including actors Sibi, Parthiban, Kausalya, Kushboo, S.Ve. Shekher, Sandhya, director Vasanth and singer Vijay Yesudas, besides a host of television artistes.
It was not all glamour at the programme.
Supriya Sahu, project director of Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society, and Bimal Charles, project director of APAC-VHS, pointed out that the aim was to raise awareness in workplace, school, family and society as it was discrimination that killed people, not the disease itself.
Others who lent support to the cause of the children included Michael Friedman, associate director of the Centres for Disease Control-USA and David T. Hopper, U.S. Consul-General, V.K. Subburaj, Health secretary, and N.S. Murali, VHS secretary.