Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Games Children Play

A sad, but necessary effect of the AIDS crisis in Africa:
Because of AIDS, much of Right To Play's effort in Africa is directed toward HIV awareness. Coaches teach the children, who range in age from 10 to 16, about AIDS through a series of games.

In one, the children gather in a circle and a coach tries, unsuccessfully, to push some over. Then, they stand on one leg and he does it again. Children laugh as they topple over easily. This, the coaches tell them, shows the effect of HIV on the body: It's like making the body's immune system stand on one leg.

In another game, a form of tag, the children chase each other, only in this version you aren't "it" when tagged if you can name an effective way to protect yourself from HIV. "Abstinence!" shouts one. "Be faithful to your partner," says another. "Condoms!" yells a third.

The rest of Jim Caple's article on Right to Play's work in Zambia is worth a read.

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