Youth network on HIV/AIDS, drugs launched
December 5, 2003
The Guyana Youth Network+, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) concerned with promoting understanding and care for children and young people afflicted by HIV/AIDS and drug-related illnesses in Guyana, was yesterday officially launched at the Red Cross building in Barrack Street, Kingston.
The group, which is the brainchild of two University of Guyana graduates - Clayton Newman and Edward Charles - was awarded a small grant from the US Ambassador Fund for HIV and AIDS.
The launching coincided with a two-day workshop from December 4 to 5 at the Red Cross Building.
The grant, according to Charles, who is the president of the organisation, is to facilitate implementation of the group's `Bridging the Gap with friendly information' project.
He said that part one of the project aims at developing an information kit for youths living with, affected by or at risk of contracting HIV.
He said that the development of what he called "essential kit" would be done through the processes of rewriting and consultations.
Charles said that the motto of the organisation is `Live to learn. Learn to Live', adding that the organisation will work on reducing stigma and discrimination.
The organisation, which was under a different name, has been around for a year and one month.
Charles identified one of their major constraints as the fact that they have no office space.
He also said it was difficult to mobilise infected and affected persons to participate and speak out.
The organisation has the support of UNAIDS, UNICEF and USAID.
Also speaking at the launching was UNICEF employee, Leslyn Thompson, who said that the launching of the organisation was timely. She noted that in 2002 some five million persons were infected and out of this number two thirds were young people.
The launching yesterday started some 35 minutes after the scheduled time and instead of the organisers apologising to those who had been present since 9 am, they went on to welcome a list of persons, none of whom was present.
The launching was further hampered by the fact that Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Gail Teixeira was unable to attend.