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ProgramsSummer Volunteer Program(SVP)
Every year IAPA implements the Summer Volunteer Program (SVP), to educate the school and University students in Chennai, in scientific facts of HIV/AIDS. Volunteers from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University are recruited, trained for 6 months, before coming to Chennai. In Chennai they remain for 2 months, conducting HIV/AIDS education program to students of educational institutions. For more information click here.
The IAPA educational initiative is spearheaded by our summer volunteer program, an eightweek program where students from Arizona universities travel to India to teach HIV prevention education in schools and the community. Our teaching groups consist of American volunteers who are both passionate about public health and dedicated to the cause of fighting the spread of HIV, as well as university students from within Chennai who serve as translators and teaching counterparts. This arrangement allows both Americans and Indians to teach and learn in the language with which they are most comfortable. IAPA guarantees that all members of the teaching groups are themselves knowledgeable about the topics included in our curriculum. This program confers an enormous benefit both to participating schools and students. The primary focus is to ensure that students are knowledgeable about HIV so that they can protect themselves from becoming infected; we believe that prevention is a sword that we as students can wield in the fight against HIV/AIDS. While many other organizations focus on providing education and treatment to high-risk groups such as sex workers and truck drivers, IAPA is addressing the needs of youth who will have to face these issues in coming years.
Our curriculum is entirely fact-based; IAPA has no political or religious affiliations. We teach the basic scientific facts of HIV biology, HIV transmission, and how transmission can be prevented. We also teach about the progression of an HIV infection in the body, and why the immune system is so important for human health. We use a scientific approach to teaching about HIV in order to dispel the myriad of myths and stigma surrounding the virus. Beliefs such as the idea that only people who are visibly ill are HIV positive, or that HIV is a form of divine judgment not only contribute to higher infection rates, but also to a stigma that is associated with HIV positive individuals. We hope that through education, students can overcome these misconceptions and understand the reality of HIV/AIDS. Our curriculum also includes secondary information on other common health-related issues in India such as malaria, tuberculosis, and the importance of proper hygiene.
Slum Health Program
Chennai city has the 4th largest slum population in India. Around 820000 people live in Chennai slums (Census 2001). Due to lack of clean or treated water and lack of sanitation, people living there run the risk of contracting many illnesses some of which proves fatal. Hence the volunteers of SVP 2010, for the first time, took up as one of their “Extra Projects”, awareness program in health and hygiene at one of the biggest slums in the city, Saidapet, in South Chennai. This program conducted in collaboration with one of our partner NGOs, New Life Welfare Society (NLWS), provided training to 10 slum women in health and hygiene.To this end, a small Needs Assessment exercise was undertaken and a training curriculum was developed. This program was again conducted more efficaciously at Otteri slum, in North Chennai, in collaboration with another partner NGO, Social Awareness for Value Education (SAVE) Trust, during SVP 2011. 30 women were trained during the program.
Children’s Day Program
Children’s Day is celebrated on November 14th all over India, in memory of the first Prime Minister of Independent India. As some partner NGOs of IAPA, work among marginalized children, we conduct a grant program every year. All the children from our different partner NGOs, numbering about 100 are invited and each one of them put up dance, song, skit and so on. Prizes and gifts are distributed and a sumptuous dinner is arranged for the kids, to make the day memorable for them.
World AIDS Day
World AIDS day, commemorated all over the world, on December 1 is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the people and spread the messages of AIDS prevention and care and support. We too at IAPA commemorate the event, by putting up awareness focussed street plays, video program, public campaigns, rallies etc., in collaboration with NGOs or educational institutions.
International Candle Light memorial Program
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, coordinated by the Global Network of People living with HIV is one of the world’s oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness in the world. It is being commemorated every third Sunday in May, led by coalition of some 1200 community organizations in 115 countries. IAPA commemorates the day every year, with one of the partner NGOs. During the program candles are lit in memory of those who died of HIV/AIDS and everyone takes solemn oath to show love and understanding to the people living with HIV and to dispel stigma and discrimination.