u+me=we is AC-AF’s education and awareness programme that empowers children and youth to actively engage in the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS and uses art to allow them to creatively learn and express themselves. This work is then used to create awareness amongst the general population, both locally and internationally to create better understanding of HIV and AIDS, its effects, and the views of youth on the subject.
This is a global programme and has been run in numerous countries including Canada, Tanzania, Cameroon, Greece, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The programme is responsive to the needs of the local communities, although it will always provide an interactive approach, where children and youth are free to ask questions and learn without judgment.
In Tanzania, u+me=we works with children and youth usually between 10 and 22 years old through schools, community groups, and partner organisations. The initial workshops address the most important topics regarding HIV and AIDS. This not only includes the medical and scientific facts including forms of transmission, ways to protect yourself, symptoms, and testing, but also looks at the social impact such as stigma and discrimination, the effect upon women and children, and the effect upon the community. A separate workshop is then undertaken with all children and youth to participate in one of AC-AF’s arts-based projects.
AC-AF currently concentrates its Canadian programme within Toronto area high schools and community centres. Each series typically consists of three workshops, with each exploring a different way of children and youth to think about HIV and AIDS.
Real Life, Real Stories and HIV 101: This first workshop provides participants with the opportunity to hear the story of a person living with HIV, and to discuss the facts of HIV and AIDS.
Human Race Game: The second workshop is an interactive game that gives participants a better understanding of issues in different countries or continents in the world that impacts upon their development, their ability to deal with HIV and AIDS, and the effect upon the epidemic.
AC-AF will soon be re-launching the ‘international u+me=we’ package that will allow partner groups and organisations to facilitate u+me=we workshops with children and youth in their communities. For further information contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Arts Based Project
The arts-based component of all the workshops is the same regardless of the host country and will bring the views and opinions from throughout the world together. The current project invites children and youth to create a postcard addressed to the United Nations General Assembly. The front of each postcard is individually designed by the participants with a message written to express their opinion to the international community.