DAREarts Foundation Inc. for Children

DAREarts Foundation Inc. for Children
Children's AIDS Health Program

July 13, 2007 13:33 ET

Teen Members of Youth-Run Charity, Children's AIDS Health Program (LetsStopAIDS.org), Return to Canada After Successful 3-Week AIDS Mission to Indian AIDS Orphanages

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 13, 2007) - On Monday, July 16, 2007 at 9:00 AM, there will be a news conference at Toronto City Hall, Committee Room 4, Second Floor.

Children's AIDS Health Program (CAIDSHP), a youth-run registered Canadian charitable organization, return to Toronto next week after a successful 3 week AIDS mission to Tamil Nadu, India. The International mission, Realizing a Vision, targeted some of the highest regions which are HIV infected or affected. They visited AIDS orphanages, hospices & hospitals, and met with HIV/AIDS workers & organizers to understand the reality and practical needs of the crisis, distributed first-aid kits and inspired the lives of over 850 children infected with HIV/AIDS. Team India chronicled their work in India on an interactive website (http://india.LetsStopAIDS.org). Upon their return to Canada, Team India will hold a press conference in Toronto, to detail the mission and their findings, and to outline the CAIDSHP's next step.

Officially founded in October 2004, by then 15 year old Shamin Mohamed Jr., Children's AIDS Health Program has raised over $35,000 to help children and youth who are living in poverty and are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. The registered charitable organization is solely run by youth with no government assistance. Shamin is one of Canada's Top 20 Under 20 award recipients for innovation, leadership and achievement, is a DAREarts All the Arts Program Graduate and a recipient of the DAREarts Leadership Award.

The goal of India Mission 2007: Realizing a Vision was to educate and offer practical ways to improve the lives of children living with HIV/AIDS in a country where it has the world's highest unreported HIV infection rate. The mission was a resounding success. During their visits to orphanages, hospices and hospitals, the team conducted workshops to educate youth ages 5-21, about HIV/AIDS and other STIs. Disease prevention, respect and fair treatment of others were demonstrated through several different approaches including arts and sports activities. The team of five provided both resources and inspiration for youth to take up much needed leadership roles in their communities and accept the challenge of making a difference. The mission gave them a clearer picture of how to direct their work in the future in order to provide programs such as these, which are desperately needed in the country.

Last year, CAIDSHP travelled to South Africa, affecting the overall well-being of over 350 children and youth by distributing 19 000 nutritional supplement tablets, providing them with the opportunity to engage actively in sporting and arts activities, providing HIV and AIDS education/prevention, and giving them the confidence and counselling necessary to gain leadership skills. We believe that attention needs to be drawn to India, which has long had the most HIV and AIDS cases in Asia.

Children's AIDS Health Program, now intends to bring their story back to Canadian schools, to continue to create awareness about the pandemic and motivate and encourage youth of all ages, across the country to take action. CAIDSHP also plans to make annual trips to other countries in different parts of the world that would encourage leadership and promote AIDS awareness. The long-term goal of CAIDSHP is to build a health care centre in a low income country.

Bios of each of our delegates, including our International Youth Ambassadors, are available online. Members, Sasha Smith and Jesse Janssen are available for interviews in Vancouver, British Colombia.

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