The following post was written by Art for AIDS Marketing and Communications Intern Robyn Bell.


At Art for AIDS International, it is always our intention to have an impact on young people that extends far beyond our two-day workshops.  Last year and the year before, we travelled to South Africa to host workshops in Soweto, a township outside of Johannesburg.  At every workshop, we hope to educate about the impact of HIV, but also to build confidence for participating young people.  We seek to educate, inspire and motivate them.  Our hope is that after these workshops have ended students can continue to make a difference in their communities.

From our workshops in Soweto in 2012, we received overwhelmingly positive feedback.  It was wonderful to hear how confident each student felt after the workshop, and about their desires to continue with community involvement around HIV awareness after the workshop had ended.

Here are some of our favourite comments from participating students:

“This workshop was a blessing to me.  It taught us how to be determined to get what we want in life.  They taught us to love our community and to love ourselves, and to engage in the community.”

“What I found most valuable is that keeping something to yourself is not a good thing, you must learn to express it and that a collage can tell a really good story.”

“It taught us about what we never knew was real.  It encouraged us to realize that anything is possible.  It brings hope to those who never thought they could make it in life.”

“We were able to be open and we were given a chance to speak about anything we wanted to.”

“I really appreciated the help and idea that we got from Hendrikus.  We were made to recognize things we didn’t know we could do.”

“The workshop was brilliant, it took our minds off a lot of problems that we have as teenagers.  Participating in it was therapeutic and helped me to distress.”

“The workshop opened my eyes and made me realize that art is more like your daily routine, meaning that art is what you eat, sleep and walk.  It really made my day.”

“The workshop really taught me to believe in myself and not to think about what people say behind my back.  From today I will stand up for myself and achieve my goals as a young woman.”

To these students, we reciprocate the thank you, and say keep up the great work in your communities.