Art Aids Art

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reflections on Freedom Day: Education & Economic Development Much Needed

Today South Africa celebrates Freedom Day, the anniversary of the country's first democratic elections and the end of the oppressive Apartheid regime.

Sixteen years along as one of the world's youngest democracies, South Africa has made remarkable progress. It has a growing Black middle class, a stable government, millions of new government-built houses, continues to attract foreign investment, has hosted the world championships in cricket and rugby, and in less than 6 weeks will be the stage for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the planet's grandest sporting event.

However, for all the trappings of success, life has not changed much, or at all, for the majority of South Africans. Millions still live desperately poor in substandard housing and with little access to adequate health care and other services. The public education system faces a huge shortage of teachers and resources. AIDS claims 1,000 lives daily and violence against women, too, is at epidemic proportions.

It is a cruel irony that, as Freedom Day festivities proceed, some of the poorest South Africans are being forcibly relocated, a practice that was commonplace during Apartheid. In preparation for the World Cup, certain shanty towns that are "inconveniently situated" (in the eyes of event organizers) have been demolished and their residents displaced. You can learn more about the plight of these shackdwellers at

Yet at Art Aids Art we are not trying to promote a gloom and doom outlook about South Africa's future. The country's recent history and progress remain nothing short of a miracle. Positive change, however, will continue only with a steadfast and relentless commitment to the improvement of educational and sustainable economic opportunities for every South African citizen.

Learn more about how you can participate in South Africa's ongoing rebirth.

Photo 1: Wikipedia

Photo 2: BBC

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Friday, April 16, 2010

AIDS Awareness Through Footwear: Rockin' Red Pumps!

On March 10, Art Aids Art joined The Red Pump Project and hundreds of activists and bloggers nationwide to promote National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. In support of the cause, members of the Art Aids Art family across the country sported their favorite red footwear.

Response was tremendous!... and we need to continue our activism throughout the year. Art Aids Art urges you to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by educating yourself and your friends and family about AIDS facts, myths, human rights issues, and how to stay safe.

Here are some educational resources:

The Body

The Well Project

Black AIDS Institute

Latino Commission on AIDS

AIDS Portal

Now it's time for an eyeful of fabulous red shoes. Special thanks to Lauren, Daniel, Dalia, Arianna, Chloe, Kelsey, Lauren and Rachel for taking the cause to heart and to the streets!

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Combating AIDS in South Africa with 2.5 billion condoms

Great news on the HIV/AIDS front, especially given that South Africa will host the World Cup in just 2 months. South Africa's health minister has announced a campaign to hand out 2.5 billion male condoms, test 15 million people for HIV, treat rape victims and encourage male circumcision as a preventative measure.

While the exclusion of female condoms is a missed opportunity at creating a more gender inclusive safe sex strategy (see March 30 post), the new campaign is a positive step toward a comprehensive plan to control infections.

Art Aids Art applauds steps such as these, and also remains committed to promoting education and economic self-sufficiency for women to reduce risky behaviors such as trading sex for shelter, food or money.

For the full Associated Press article, click here.

Photo credit: Katharine Euphrat / NBN

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Art Aids Art promotes education and sustainable economic development through the arts.
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