Update from the field – March 2011

Here at Shanti International, we like to keep you informed about recent developments and activities taking place and how the money we raise is spent.  We have just received this update from Roshan who is the project co-ordinator for the Shanker Foundation – he liases with Samar Borges who has worked for Shanti since day 1. Samar started here in the Shanti office and now works on location in India and Nepal:

This is what Roshan has written:

“We observed the International Candlelight Memorial two years ago with a few of us gathered in the Darjeeling Red Cross grounds for a multi-faith prayer service. This year, 15th May 2011, we hope to make it bigger.”

*The Candlelight Memorial*
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 campaigns for HIV/AIDS awareness in the world. Started in 1983, the Candlelight Memorial takes place every third Sunday in May and is led by a coalition of some 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries hosting local memorials to honour the lives lost and raise social consciousness about HIV. The Candlelight is also much more than just a memorial. It provides opportunities for leadership development, policy advocacy, partnerships, and improvement of
community mobilization skills. With 33 million people living with HIV today, the Candlelight continues to serve as an important intervention for global solidarity, breaking down barriers, and giving hope to new generations.

For more details log onto: http://www.candlelightmemorial.org/

Roshan continues:
“Darjeeling is blessed with a religious harmony which we hope to build upon. We will be advocating different religious groups in Darjeeling Hills to hold prayer services in their own special way and spaces.  We also believe that religious organizations are powerful agents of the much needed change in society. We will also have a centralized memorial (hoping to have it in Chowrastha) where we will have multi-faith prayer service, candle light memorial, positive speakers, information kiosks and documentaries screened. *Samajs, *Educational institutions and NGOs will be invited to participate in the memorial at Chowrastha. The memorial is not just for all the people who have died but also for all the ones who are living with HIV/AIDS. The memorial is also about our society looking within and taking responsibility of ourselves. We have a culture of supporting each other and the time is now to embrace people living with HIV/AIDS in the Darjeeling Hills and break down the walls of stigma and discrimination and stand for the rights of PLHAs.

The global theme for this year is “Touching Lives”. We invite you to touch lives and be the change you want to see in this world. We invite you to touch your own life and offer the change to others. We want you to strengthen your belief in the power of prayer, religious harmony and PRAY.”

We will continue to post updates from the field as and when we receive them from India and Nepal so watch this space!!


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