July 24, 2008

Awareness on Wheels

When I first saw an advertisement about the Red Ribbon Express, I was already interested! To me and 'm sure to many more people, it does make a lot of sense to completely appreciate the inititative taken up to spread knowledge about HIV/AIDS amoungst the masses especially the rural India.

The Red ribbon express is an initiative of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, a unique and powerful idea to combat HIV/AIDS: a train that will traverse over 9,000 km a year, cover 180 districts/halt stations, and hold programmes and activities in 43,200 villages!
The train comprises of seven coaches, equipped with: educational material, primarily on HIV/AIDS, interactive touch screens and 3-D models, PPTCT services in the context of RCH II, HIV-TB co-infection, an LCD projector and platform for folk performances, counseling cabins and two doctors’ cabins for providing counselling and syndromic treatment for STI and RTI cases, an office, dining area and pantry.

The Train was flagged off on 1st of Dec 2007 and is expected to reach by Delhi on 1st of Dec 2008. The focus is on youth groups, women self-help group members, adolescents/student community from schools and colleges, PRI members, youth in uniformed services and out-of-school/non-­student youth, particularly in the rural areas.

The train reached Bangalore on July 24, 2008 and I faithfully went along with my colleagues to be of support to the initiative.
Route map of the Red Ribbon Express! Supposed to be whole of India in a year, spreading awareness and educating masses. No Jokes!
The first coach of the train had basic information about how one should safeguard himself or herself from HIV. I thought the soldier who stood to symbolise the concept of "safeguard" was very interesting.
The poster of various people and a mirror on it which meant to project the person's face who stood in front of it and said "You too may be prone to AIDS" was intersting. I could see some silling guys just running without wanting to look into it.. I never read anywhere that by looking into the mirror they would get the disease! Gosh!
Videos about HIV/AIDS were played in every coach targetting different audience.
Some initiatives were as per a person's capability to understand specially to students and the youth. There were phones for various categories of people in the society. For example this student was able to listen to a message played which educated about what a student could do in order to safeguard oneself from HIV AIDS and what he or she could do as a student in educating other students
Importance of an immense magnitude was given on eduating rural India about HIV/AIDS.
Training sessions on HIV/AIDS were held for school and college children, Medical Professionals and general public. It was an exhaustive task for the staff on board but very well carried out.
A 75 year "young enthusiast" who bowled me over with his interest in learning about HIV AIDS. When i approached him and appreciated his zeal, he said this was interested and wanted to explore what this was all about. He had picked up a handout and that was impressive!! Seriously. How many of us can do something like this when we are 75?
Signature campaign from PSI (Population Services International) I did my duty on it too!
At the end I had to say " good bye to the Red Ribbon Express! It was a pleasure meeting this lady"!


Chelsi said...

Keep up the good work.

Matilda said...

Thanks chelsi :)