REPACTED: Mr. And Mrs. Red Ribbon Pageant And Prison Outreach

We have got several updates from the Rising Voices grantee REPACTED. In last November the Mr. and Miss red ribbon pageant was held in Nakuru, Kenya in an effort to eradicate stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. This beauty pageants hosts both HIV infected and uninfected models. REPACTED organized this with the help of Voice of Roses and the National Aids Control Council and it attracted more than 1000 youths from Nakuru. The Minister of Special Program Dr. Naomi Shaban distributed the prizes on the World AIDS Day 2009.

Mr. Red Ribbon. Image by Collins Dennis Oduor

Mr. Red Ribbon Peter Okola. Image by Collins Dennis Oduor

Miss Red Ribbin Mary Nyokabi. Image by Collins Dennis Oduor

Miss Red Ribbin Mary Nyokabi. Image by Collins Dennis Oduor

Collins Dennis Oduor writes in the project blog:

The participants took up to three weeks preparing for the event and undergoing peer education training and care of the HIV/AIDS infected.

The guest speaker of the day Miss Maureen Anyango gave a testimony of her life with HIV/AIDS since her infection at eighteen years of age, the discovery, her denial and her eventual acceptance of her status and the various challenges she faced from the community. She called out for people to get tested in order to discover their status and take appropriate steps to protect themselves. At the end of the event, Peter Okola and Mary Nyokabi were crowned Mr. and Miss Red Ribbon amidst screams, cheers and applause by the audience.

Here are two short videos of the event:

Last year only the two winners of the contest engaged in outreach activities. But this year REPACTED is coordinating an ambitious program that will harness the popularity of the 35 models of the Red Ribbons pageant 2009. As per Collins:

Alongside community outreaches by the models REPACTED will conduct a monthly meeting with the 35 models. Introducing the 35 models to blogging is a process that requires some consent due to the health status of the models. We are thinking of starting with activities aimed at setting a rapport with the models before organizing for a training on blogging.

The main goal of the initiative is to introduce more positive bloggers in the blog-sphere so that some issues related to health and HIV affecting the models can be shared without involving the third party who have always taken advantage of the situation.

The models have opened the blog titled Mr. And Mrs. Red Ribbon where their outreach activities will be posted. Here is an explanation of the Red Ribbon concept:

The Red Ribbon is the international symbol of AIDS awareness that is usually worn by people all year round particularly during the World AIDS Day every December 1st. [..] The Red Ribbon Symbolizes Blood, Danger and Love. The tails of the Ribbon were designed to point down to symbolize the life flowing away.

In the blog Peter Okolo (Mr. Red Ribbon) talks about an outreach effort in Nakuru:

This Valentines Day we made an effort to visit three video dens within Bondeni, Ponda Mali and Free Area of the Nakuru Municipality with a locally produced movie titled “SHUGA”. The movie was free of charge and was graced by the representatives of PLWHA who facilitated the session by giving the audience a small talk on self stigma, name calling and separation and segregation of persons living with HIV and AIDS.

Prison Outreach. Image by Collins Dennis Oduduor

Prison Outreach. Image by Collins Dennis Oduduor

Collins also informs:

To honor the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day “Universal Access and Human Rights” REPACTED in partnership with the Nakuru GK Prisons kicked off build up activities by organizing four days of free HIV Counseling and testing targeting the inmates, officers and their families and the surrounding community at the Nakuru GK prison. Prisoners are people too therefore it is a human right to access reproductive health information including information on HIV and AIDS.

Here is a video of the world aids day build up activities at the Nakuru GK prison:


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