National youth festival in Delhi to celebrate sexuality, rights

February 12th, 2009 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) More than 600 youth and members of communities at risk of getting HIV, like sex workers and truck drivers, will come together for a two-day festival in the capital to celebrate sexuality and engage in a dialogue on how to tackle different challenges.
Using various mediums like art, music, theatre and dance, the festival will provide a platform to the young men and women as well as the vulnerable groups to bring forth their experience-based opinion on different issues and form a network so as to solve some of the problems together.

“Whether it’s the sex workers group, the truck drivers or those affected by HIV, the problems are the same - lack of awareness both about their rights and healthcare and a battle against some government policies not working in their favour,” said Anjali Goppalan of the Naz Foundation, an NGO working on issues of HIV/AIDS and sexual health.

“Instead of diversifying, it’s important that all these groups are in touch so as to support each other to achieve their goals,” she added.

But the festival, called Project 19, is not just about the marginalised community.

“It’s also about the youth who are important stakeholders of the future. In contrast to popular perception that youngsters are not interested in social issues, just the fact that we have got more than 200 entries in the form of art pieces and movie clips on different issues for the festival are examples that they are,” said Ishita Sharma of the YP Foundation.

“Bringing the youth to interact with the vulnerable groups is the focus of the festival, not just because they can help them and spread awareness but also because they too may be at risk,” she added.

Organised by the Centre for Human Progress (CHP) and YP Foundation, a youth network working on social issues for the last six years, the festival will take place at the India Habitat Centre in the capital Feb 15-16.

Among other events, there will be street theatre performances, a music concert and a film festival.

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