Still full of the joy they felt from last weekend's Children's Day, a group of Chinese youth came together again on June 8, this time offering their loving care to those children living with HIV/AIDS and arming themselves with information about the disease.
The United Nations Children's Fund's (UNICEF) Beijing Office held a welfare event at the Juyongguan Section of the Great Wall on the morning of June 8. With over 600 primary students attending, the event was designed to raise public awareness about the situation of children living with HIV/AIDS.
The global luxury brand Cartier announced at the event a plan to donate 3 million yuan (US$385,600) to UNICEF through its sales of "Love Series" products in China. The funds will be used by UNICEF to support programs aimed at HIV prevention and care.
Advancing UN's global campaign on children and AIDS, called "Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS," UNICEF and the Chinese government cooperated to launch China's Campaign on Children and AIDS last year. Many programs have been undertaken focusing on helping children orphaned or affected by AIDS as well as improving young people's awareness of HIV/AIDS.
In her welcoming address, UNCIEF Representative to China Dr. Yin Yin Nwe congratulated Cartier on the social responsibility and leadership the company had shown through its support for the global campaign. She expressed the hope that "other enterprises will follow the Cartier example and lend their support to addressing the epidemic which affects young people so much but where equally young people are part of the solution."
Li Qimin, deputy secretary-general of the Chinese National Committee for the Care of Children, said to the students that as the future of the country, young people should actively join the campaign on AIDS, contributing efforts to support the cause besides doing academic works.
Guo Yujie, a high school student from Hebei Province, is one of the "Loving Care Ambassadors" of the campaign. She shared her experience participating in the campaign with the students attending the event and called on them to join her team.
The 16-year-old girl has contributed a large volume of stories about her personal visits to children in AIDS families to children-oriented publications distributed nationwide and has spearheaded many activities in her school to inspire classmates to help provide loving care to those HIV/AIDS affected kids.
Over 100 youth ambassadors like Guo Yujie are working in schools and communities to promote "Learn, Share and Care": learning the facts about AIDS, sharing knowledge with friends and family and caring for friends and families affected by AIDS. "They can help both disseminate information and reduce discrimination toward the affected and infected," said Dr. Yin Yin Nwe.
China has in total an estimated 650,000 HIV/AIDS cases and around 76,000 AIDS orphans. UNICEF predicted that the disease could orphan more than 150,000 children by 2010.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Zhang Tingting June 9, 2007)