Reducing discrimination by breaking down cultural barriers among youth through sport
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Rana Umair Asif conducted a workshop at the International AIDS Conference 2018 in Amsterdam, Netherlands (Youth Pavilion, Global Youth Village).

The main objective was to reduce discrimination facing people affected by HIV/AIDS in their societies. Earlier, I also developed the proposal for the workshop in coordination with the Program Workgroup of Amsterdam Youth Force that was later accepted by the organising committee.

Findings of Kafka Welfare Organization: “Young people living with HIV/AIDS have been facing discrimination by their societies. Youth is not free to talk about HIV/AIDS and contraception. The reasons are societal, cultural barriers, taboos and prejudice.”

The session provided young people with a safe space (it also supports the theme of International Youth Day) in the form of a sports session where they talked about HIV/AIDS, contraception and taboos by breaking down cultural barriers. These barriers are fear and restrictions of society to discuss taboos.

The session also taught young activists how they could use sports for effective HIV/AIDS campaigning. The focus was on teaching inclusion through sport. It helped to reduce discrimination of youth living with HIV/AIDS and LGBT youth. The power of soccer could be used to unite youth and remove differences. During the session, young people experienced inclusion and a discrimination-free environment. They also learnt how sports help to overcome different HIV/AIDS factors, which are sociological factors, psychological factors, economic factors, and political factors. They got an opportunity to critique youth engagement through sport and young activists designed small activities in groups during the session to implement their learning. 

I conducted the session with Ali Asif and with young people (aged 24 and below) representing youth living (or affected) with HIV/AIDS, young HIV/AIDS activists and LGBT youth. The session consisted of three parts. One facilitator presented theory in the first part of the session (following the title) and the second facilitator conducted a soccer game in the second part of session (following objectives). In the third section, a discussion was initiated on the learning and future follow-up of the workshop.

In the workshop, the participants learnt the deep understanding of how to use sports to make their HIV/AIDS campaigns more effective. They designed sports activities during the session, which will be followed up later by facilitators.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team.]


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