Students Sing About The Stigma Associated With HIV and AIDSThe AIDS epidemic is alarmingly present in Malawi. According to UNAIDS, 11% of adults aged 15-49 suffered from HIV/AIDS in 2009, but only 42% of youth had accurate knowledge about the disease. The discrimination that still surrounds the disease in Malawi can partly be attributed to this lack of information and awareness.Most children at BeeHive School, aged 4 to 13, have been affected by HIV/AIDS in some way. The school not only teaches the boys and girls about the health and safety aspects of the disease, but also about its many complicated stigmas. The standard 6 and 7 students studied HIV/AIDS as one of their social studies topics and were also assigned to write plays and songs that explored the disease.The song they chose to perform and record, “People Dying Day by Day Because of HIV and AIDS” tells the story of people diagnosed with AIDS-- how their friends push them away, they get fired from their jobs, become suspended from school, lose their friends, and die from the disease. The entire creative process, from brainstorming, to writing lyrics and performing the songs, was not only educational but empowering for the BeeHive students.You can watch their performance here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQoQuZi59GQBeeHive School CelebratesThe school has finally received the official registration certificate from the Malawian Ministry of Education. It is valid for 3 years and is framed proudly in the school’s temporary office.The certificate arrived just in time for the 2nd anniversary at the new site. The teachers worked very hard to put on a huge celebration with the whole school and parents. Everyone enjoyed a bounce house, face and henna painting, ‘wet the teacher’ (50 kwacha for three wet sponges! Great fun (but cold!)), pin the tail on the zebra, parachute games, class performances, a talent show and a fashion parade, plus barbecue and drinks for sale. Each class had a class party at lunch. The hard work paid off - it was an amazing day, the kids LOVED it. Even though the school has been in the new site for two years, the construction is still in progress. It is progressing slowly and steadily, with the admin block almost complete. The new building is looking amazing – everyone who sees it is impressed by the design and the size and light. The window and door frames are in, the plumbing in the staff room and staff toilets are done, and the conduit has been run for the electricity. The plastering is in progress, followed by the finishing on the window and door frames, and putting in the floor. After that, the doors and windows will need to be bought and installed, and it will be done!The hope is to have the building complete by September, money permitting. The cost of cement has risen dramatically due to the devaluation of the kwacha, so the floor is going to be expensive. The school is extremely grateful for the generous donation of cement from the Malawian company SR Nicholas. The company has 3 families at the school and have very kindly donated 50 bags of cement so far! This could not have come at a better time – cement is MK 4300 a bag now (about $17) – with the devaluation EVERYTHING has gone up.Thank you for your continued support and generosity, especially during this hard economic time. The students are excited to be at school and are growing, learning, and blossoming every day. The whole school is looking forward to Sports Day coming up on July 5th - we are hoping it will be dry and not too cold like last year!
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