Blog
Action for the Needy (ACFON) conducts an HIV education workshop in Luweero District, Uganda.
01
OCT
2014
In Uganda, the landscape for HIV continues to change. After successfully decreasing HIV prevalence rates in the 1990s, they have been on the rise since 2006. Uganda still faces a prevalence of 7.2% (10th highest globally), or 1.4 million people living with HIV (6th highest globally). Yet, less than 40% of young people in the country have comprehensive knowledge about HIV.

Health educators with Action for the Needy (ACFON) have embraced such challenges and dedicated themselves to help change the social and economic conditions. Using the TeachAIDS materials, the ACFON facilitators educated their community members and encouraged them to follow strategies to maximize learning. At the end of the education session, ACFON chair members conducted an evaluation to ensure that learning was optimized.

ACFON, a community-based development organization is working to empower impoverished populations in rural Uganda. Their projects include scholastic programs, counseling, and medical care for orphans and vulnerable children. They are dedicated to HIV prevention to curb the ongoing high prevalence rates in Uganda. ACFON focuses on HIV education and on providing quality care and support to people living with HIV. In the future, they hope to utilize solar energy to power the TeachAIDS animations directly in their HIV education workshops.

TeachAIDS has worked with several other committed organizations in Uganda including SchoolNet Uganda, Let the Needy Smile, and Children of Grace. We look forward to continued collaboration with organizations such as ACFON to improve HIV prevention throughout Uganda.

Photo: Action for the Needy (ACFON) conducts an HIV education workshop in Luweero District, Uganda.

Children in the Mutare district in Zimbabwe learning from the TeachAIDS animations.
28
AUG
2014
“The project received overwhelming support from local community members and leaders... Also the project managed to reach the communities which were usually starved of HIV/AIDS information due to the nature of the teaching media.”

- Alex Guma, Volunteer Educator

Despite not having support from or affiliation with any formal organization, Alex Guma, a Ugandan transplant in Zimbabwe, has taken it upon himself to bring TeachAIDS to local communities, reaching students, orphans, and deaf individuals. He has already trained 23 volunteers as “TeachAIDS Educators” who travel to various communities and schools throughout Zimbabwe with the aim of empowering youth with life-saving information.

At a young age, Guma lost his parents to HIV. This loss solidified his determination to help save the next generation of young people from this condition. He first connected with TeachAIDS as a student in Uganda, where he used the animated software as part of an independent project called College Hope for Life. Soon after, Guma travelled to Zimbabwe, where the HIV epidemic is one of the harshest in the world, with a prevalence rate of nearly 15%. There he has worked with local leaders and volunteers to raise awareness about HIV prevention throughout the country.

In addition to targeting youth and community leaders, Guma has shared TeachAIDS software with another key group that often lacks HIV information: the deaf. Like Agatha Borbor, an inspiring individual who brought TeachAIDS to the deaf in Liberia, Guma is doing the same in Zimbabwe. The visual representations of biological concepts coupled with detailed image text and subtitling makes it easier for deaf communities to access this information. According to Guma, “deaf people have been left out of HIV education, and TeachAIDS has come as a solution.”

Guma and his team of educators have already made presentations in community settings such as churches and at institutions of higher learning, schools, and orphanages. His initiatives have received an overwhelming response, reaching more than 1,000 men, women, and children.

TeachAIDS applauds the efforts of individuals like Guma who bring education and resources to key populations in their communities, spreading knowledge and empowering others. Guma joins committed individuals around the world bringing TeachAIDS to  Tanzania,  South Africa, India,  and the United Kingdom. Many thanks to these outstanding individuals who work diligently to bring much-needed information to some of the most difficult-to-reach locations.
TeachAIDS artist creates the character modeled after Indian cultural icon Mr. Sudeep for the Kannada version of the animated software.
10
JUL
2014

Deloitte, one of the world’s leading professional services organizations, has signed on as a sponsor for the production of the Kannada language version of the TeachAIDS software. With the formal approval of the Karnataka state government, the completed software will be implemented into more than 5,500 secondary schools throughout the state. Celebrated cultural icons Sudeep, Suhasini Maniratnam, Vijay Raghavendra, and Anu Prabhakar have generously donated their voices and likenesses to the animated tutorials (male preview | female preview).

Deloitte strengthened their commitment to providing comprehensive and culturally-sensitive HIV education in India by incorporating TeachAIDS into their annual IMPACT Day on November 29th, 2013. Working across major metropolises including Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune, more than 21,000 Deloitte professionals dedicated the day to their local communities. This year’s impact included a focus on youth and their education and employment opportunities.

The TeachAIDS animations were implemented into Deloitte’s HIV education efforts across India. For example, in Hyderabad, the Telugu versions of the TeachAIDS animations were incorporated into their community outreach programs. Featuring the voices and likenesses of beloved Telugu stars, the TeachAIDS materials engaged the children with this critical prevention information. The TeachAIDS materials have been used with tremendous success throughout Andhra Pradesh, with the state government distributing 25,000 copies of the Telugu materials and local television stations broadcasting them for free to educate their viewers.

In total, Deloitte’s IMPACT Day efforts are estimated to reach 300,000 people across India. This level of impact has been recognized multiple times by the Limca Book of Records for “the most number of community service hours on a single day by any corporate in India.”

We commend Deloitte for their continued leadership in India, and welcome them to our team alongside other global leaders like Barclays Bank, Cigna, and Yahoo!, who have all generously supported the development of localized versions of the TeachAIDS educational tools. With their support, we can continue our mission to bring the highest-quality education materials to those who would benefit most from them across India and worldwide.

Left: Virginie Lubino integrates the TeachAIDS materials into her training for former street children and adolescents living at the Bankanja and Magone Centers in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Right: One of her students shares the three steps of the Triangle Test to assess if a person is at risk of infection.
09
MAY
2014
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the 20 most populous countries in the world, which means an HIV prevalence rate of 1.1% translates into almost 500 million people living with HIV. A country already hard hit by the disease, significant poverty and on-going conflict contribute to limited health services and increased vulnerability to the virus.

Virginie Lubino, an occupational therapist from Canada, lived and worked in sub-Saharan Africa for a year and a half. While in the DRC, Ms. Lubino integrated the TeachAIDS educational materials into her efforts with local youth in Lubumbashi. She designed a training for former street children and adolescents living at the Bankanja and Magone Centers. The centers, run by the Salesians of Don Bosco, provide education and professional training to these young residents.

Ms. Lubino conducted two four-day training sessions for 30 teenagers, focused primarily on substance use and HIV prevention. The training included a full day of comprehensive education on HIV and AIDS. To enhance learning, Ms. Lubino paused the TeachAIDS tutorials to ensure the youth were understanding the content as well as created her own posters in French to reinforce the key lessons and concepts.

After teaching basic information about HIV, the young people combined efforts to identify strategies to reduce risky behaviors and protect themselves. She said, “The group was focused and very interested in the information. They asked a lot of questions, they did all the activities with great enthusiasm, they were very motivated to learn.”

Following the program, Virginie was interviewed by the local TV news to explain the training. She credited the success in part to the TeachAIDS animations, saying, “TeachAIDS day was so useful and everything worked perfectly. The activities allowed them first to understand the severity of the topic, while having fun at the same time.”

With the support of Ms. Lubino, other local organizations in the DRC, such as the Katanga chapter of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), have utilized the TeachAIDS materials, with MSF using the TeachAIDS Swahili version with their Congolese staff.

TeachAIDS applauds the efforts of individuals like Ms. Lubino who are working tirelessly to empower youth with the information they need to lead healthy lives.

Photo: Left: Virginie Lubino integrates the TeachAIDS materials into her training for former street children and adolescents living at the Bankanja and Magone Centers in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Right: One of her students shares the three steps of the Triangle Test to assess if a person is at risk of infection.
Legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan records his voice for the TeachAIDS software at BR Studios in Mumbai; on the left is his animated avatar for the tutorials.
27
APR
2014
"As regards the laudable, humane work TeachAIDS is carrying out, in creating a united front to combat HIV/AIDS, by means of educational material for children the world over, I would willingly like to offer my help. We can tackle this epidemic by breaking the silence and removing the stigma that surrounds this disease." - Amitabh Bachchan

Film legend Amitabh Bachchan has generously made the time to improve public education around another important health topic, donating his voice and likeness for the creation of new versions of the TeachAIDS software in India.

Over the last two days in the famous BR Studios in Mumbai, Mr. Bachchan recorded his voice for both the Hindi and English versions of the TeachAIDS animated software. As one of the most recognized and respected voices in the history of Indian cinema, his versions of the software will be released in schools across the entire country to educate young people on prevention and other protective measures. In the animated tutorial, Mr. Bachchan plays the role of the erudite doctor opposite Imran Khan, who plays the curious student. The female versions of the English and Hindi TeachAIDS software star Shabana Azmi and Shruti Haasan.

The new Hindi and English versions of the TeachAIDS software will be released alongside several other Indian language versions starring celebrities including Nagarjuna, Sudeep, Suhasini Maniratnam, Suriya, Prashanta Nanda, Siddharth, Anushka Shetty, and others.

The winner of many awards, including three National Film Awards as Best Actor and fourteen Filmfare Awards — the Oscars of Indian cinema — Mr. Bachchan is one of the most celebrated actors in the industry. In 2001, the Government of India awarded him with the prestigious Padma Bhushan for his contributions towards the arts.

Aside from his highly successful film career spanning over four decades, promoting social good and raising knowledge around public health has been important to Mr. Bachchan. As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Polio, Mr. Bachchan launched a number of educational initiatives to raise knowledge levels around promoting positive health behaviors. His tireless efforts combined with those of the public health community proved effective when the World Health Organization declared 10 Asian countries, including India, to be free of polio. With Mr. Bachchan now lending his support to a group of over a dozen cultural icons and an interdisciplinary team of world experts, TeachAIDS hopes to make a significant difference in HIV education and prevention as well.

TeachAIDS wholeheartedly thanks Mr. Bachchan for joining our efforts as well as BR Studios for donating their studio and staff towards this production.

Photo: Legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan records his voice for the TeachAIDS software at BR Studios in Mumbai; on the left is his animated avatar for the tutorials.