Throughout October, the Youth Engagement Team of Restless Development’s International Programmes unit took to the road to deliver dance4life workshops in schools around the UK. The tour reached 5627 young people over a three week period, inspiring them to take action to push back HIV and AIDS, improve global sexual health and develop their understanding of international development.
The tour was run by two teams of young facilitators, who between them delivered youth-led workshops from Scotland out to Wales and down to the south coast of England. Along the way they supported 3024 young people to take action by backing the campaign for Johnson & Johnson to join the patent pool so that HIV medicines can be made more accessible for people in poorer countries.
Five Members of Parliament attended their local workshops, with many more sending their support. Steve Webb, MP for Thornbury and Yate, who attended the final workshop at Yate International Academy, said ““I think it’s important that young people hear from people they can identify with. This morning we’ve seen dance, we’ve seen rap, we’ve seen ways of making the subject interesting which is fantastic…When we talked about aid spending most of the young people were amazed by how little we actually spend.”
Miss Jacqui Rhodes, a teacher at Cheslyn Hay Sports and Community High School, praised positive speaker Victor Aweke from Nigeria for sharing his experiences of living with HIV with the students, “Victor’s talk really impacted upon the students and the room was silent at this time. I think him sharing his experiences allowed students to think about living positively with HIV/AIDS, and that people with HIV/AIDS are no different to people without it and therefore should not be feared. I think this was incredibly valuable in the students learning.”
Find out more about Restless Development’s work running dance4life in the UK at www.dance4life.co.uk.