Blog
Former President of Botswana Festus Mogae shares the TeachAIDS software with students from Stepping Stones International at his residence in Phakalane Golf Estate Gaborone, Botswana.
19
MAR
2015

“Youth is such an exciting time. I want to encourage you to take full advantage of the opportunities around you…However, childhood also has its challenges.  Too often the dreams of our youth are compromised by things like teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse, intergenerational sex, and especially HIV and AIDS. The information you need to protect yourself is available. It is up to you to take action.”      

-Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae

The government of Botswana has designated March as the Month of Youth Against AIDS , or MYAA.  During this month, young people across the country collaborate with a diverse range of partners to engage in educational activities and informed discussions revolving around HIV and AIDS in their respective communities.

In commemoration of this year’s MYAA, we would like to highlight one such inspiring story. The Kgale Hill Junior Secondary School (JSS) in Gaborone, Botswana, showed the video version—specifically designed for Botswana-- of the TeachAIDS software to 735 of their students.  Aside from showing the TeachAIDS material as part of an organized classroom education initiative, the school also uploaded the educational content onto every computer in the school’s computer lab, making the material accessible in perpetuity to students who wanted to learn more and/or review the content during their spare time. The school also made a point to send the link to the parents of all of their students, enabling those with Internet to download the materials, educate themselves about the topic and engage in further conversation with their children at home.

Kgale Hill JSS educator Ms. Mercy Peole was pleased with the level of dedication her students demonstrated while watching the TeachAIDS animations. In particular, she noted that the students were deeply touched by the animation’s opening “Message of Hope” from Former President Festus Mogae”, who serves as a Special Advisor to TeachAIDS.  Mercy described that, “you could hear [a] pin drop in that class room, with [students] glued…to the big screen…eager to hear what the former President has to say to him/her! Powerful message indeed.” In President Mogae’s message, he asks youth to empower themselves through education and  offers inspiration to the people of his nation, and throughout Africa, to take control of their own health and destinies.

In this spirit, Mercy described how one of the most powerful moments of the lesson were the personal pledges her students made after watching the animated production. The students observed a moment of silence during which time they were challenged to quietly make a personal commitment to protect themselves and others from the transmission of the virus, taking ownership of the TeachAIDS message that “HIV prevention begins with me.”

“They are committing to zero transmission lifestyles…by making a personal pledge like this there is no pressure from the outside to make the commitment since the learners are each making a commitment with the 'self.' This can strengthen self-management and accountability to oneself [and] hence ownership that indeed 'in my life HIV prevention begins with me.’”

-Mercy Peole, educator at Kgale Hill JSS

 TeachAIDS has a strong history and collaborative relationship with the government of Botswana in their effort to combat the spread of HIV in their country. Several years ago, when their government reached out to TeachAIDS to build interactive educational tools together, a special partnership was forged between TeachAIDS, the Ministry of Education, Stepping Stones International, and UNICEF, to help stop the HIV fatigue plaguing its citizens. While over one-fifth of adults in Botswana were HIV positive, citizens were growing tired of hearing the same HIV mass media messaging through billboards, television commercials, and pamphlets. Scientific research indicated that education provided to them in this repetitive and fragmented format was becoming increasingly ineffective.

Internationally recognized award-winning hip-hop artists, Scar, Zeus, and Tref, along with radio icon, Jazzelle, and government leaders gave voice to characters and a script tailored to reflect the cultural preferences of the people of Botswana. The animations were customized in both English and Setswana, the country’s two official languages. Botswana’s Deputy Permanent Secretary went on to approve TeachAIDS software for every school in the nation and collaborate with local educators and administrators to ensure the material would be actively distributed and used in classrooms. To further promote these distribution efforts, the Ministry named June 15th as “TeachAIDS Day.”

TeachAIDS is pleased to support MYAA and the outstanding efforts of Kgale Hill JSS. We wish you, and other similar institutions, the very best as you continue to arm our young people with a sense of ownership over their own health and well being.

21
FEB
2015

TeachAIDS was awarded a grant from Dream Blue Foundation (DBF) in their Education & Technology category.  The foundation is an independent nonprofit organization established by BTI Solutions, Inc. and works towards improving the lives of people around the globe with the most urgent needs. Together we will expand our research-based HIV interactive software to reach more areas in the world.

Dream Blue Foundation partners with organizations to support initiatives and programs that respond in meaningful and holistic ways to meet the needs and priorities of vulnerable populations.

We are pleased to welcome DBF as a TeachAIDS partner. We look forward to combining efforts to expand our interactive software to make prevention education more accessible globally.

15
JAN
2015

It is with great pleasure that we announce that the video versions of the TeachAIDS animated software has been shown nationally throughout India, reaching millions of viewers in both rural and urban areas. With the support of both the central and state governments, and our media partners, the HIV prevention animations were shown prime time on the most popular public and private television stations across the country — pro bono. The Hindi version, one of India’s national languages, was shown on Doordarshan National (DD) while the local language versions were shown on the highest rated TV stations such as SUN TVOTVMAA TVABN Andhra, and the local Doordarshan affiliates. All these stations generously donated airtime to help promote a more concrete understanding of the complexities around HIV and AIDS.

The release of these customized versions expand TeachAIDS to include some of the most widely spoken languages in India, and the world. Hindi is spoken natively by 370 million, Tamil by 70 million, Kannada by 40 million, Assamese by 16 million, and Odia by 33 million. English is widely spoken as a first, second, and third language throughout India, with more than 125 million estimate English speakers in the country. In total, these launches make state-of-the-art HIV prevention education available to a potential audience of more than half a billion.

We are immensely grateful to our media partners for their commitment in helping to empower people of all ages across India.

Left to Right: Ms. Amala Akkineni (Actress & TeachAIDS Trustee), Mr. Nagarjuna (Actor & TeachAIDS Ambassador), Ms. Ashwini Doshi (TeachAIDS Founding Board Member), Dr. Piya Sorcar (TeachAIDS Founder & CEO), Mr. Amitabh Bachchan (Actor & TeachAIDS Ambassador) at Annapurna Studios, India.
31
DEC
2014
TeachAIDS year-end celebration

On behalf of TeachAIDS, wishing everyone a joyful New Year. Thank you to all of you who helped make 2014 a year to remember. This year we launched 12 new versions of our software to provide state-of-the-art HIV prevention education to an audience of more than 500 million, partnering with numerous governments, NGOs, and celebrities. We are excited to explore new adventures and overcome more challenges together in 2015.

Photo: (Left to Right: Ms. Amala Akkineni (Actress & TeachAIDS Trustee), Mr. Nagarjuna (Actor & TeachAIDS Ambassador), Ms. Ashwini Doshi (TeachAIDS Founding Board Member), Dr. Piya Sorcar (TeachAIDS Founder & CEO), Mr. Amitabh Bachchan (Actor & TeachAIDS Ambassador) at Annapurna Studios, India.
Cast of medical drama “Urimai”, starring Amala Akkineni, announces TeachAIDS India-wide launch
01
DEC
2014

We’ve just returned from India, working with governments, NGOs, and our national teams there in preparation for World AIDS Day. India has been a major focus for us this year. With the world’s third-largest HIV-positive population, it continues to have significant challenges related to HIV and AIDS; children are still thrown out of schools for being HIV-positive and the number of HIV-positive people continues to grow. The good news is that we are helping make significant progress on these fronts.

The national press gathered in Chennai, India, where news of the 12 new versions of the TeachAIDS animations, in 6 languages, was officially released. To commemorate this national event, the cast of the popular medical drama “Uyirmei”, starring Amala Akkineni, gathered to make the formal announcement.

The TeachAIDS India-wide software launch featured an unprecedented collaboration between leading actors from various film industries and governments all over the country, including:

Hindi – starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Imran Khan, Shruti Haasan (female | male)

Tamil – starring: Suriya, Anushka Shetty, Siddharth, Shruti Haasan (female | male)

Kannada – starring: Sudeep, Suhasini Maniratnam, Anu Prabhakar, Vijay Raghavendra (female | male)

Assamese – starring: Malaya Goswami, Pranjal Saikia, Kopil Bora, Zerifa Wahid (female | male)

Odia – starring: Prashanta Nanda, Aruna Mohanty, Anu Choudhury, Akash Das Nayak (female | male)

English – starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Imran Khan, Shruti Haasan (female | male)

The local language video versions of the TeachAIDS software will be televised throughout the nation this month. In addition, more than 100,000 physical copies of the software will be distributed systematically to schools, hospitals, and counseling centers nationwide next year.