December 3rd 2008, Dakar, Senegal.

Courage and Hope: African Teachers Living Positively with HIV

On the first day of the 15th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), close to 200 conference delegates squeezed into the satellite symposium of Courage and Hope: African Teachers Living Positively with HIV, a documentary film produced by Baney Media and the Partnership for Child Development (PCD) with support from the World Bank.

Following a short introduction by Professor Donald Bundy of the World Bank, the audience bore witness to the remarkable stories of Margaret Wambete, Martin Mkong Ptoch, Jemimah Nindo and Beldina Atieno, four teachers from Kenya living with HIV. In their own voices, they describe the heart-rending stigma and discrimination they faced in their schools, communities and families upon learning of their seropositive status, and the strength with which they have fought back in order to pursue their passion for teaching, to raise awareness of the issues faced by HIV-positive teachers and to emphasise the role of the education sector in HIV prevention.

As the credits rolled, the four teachers were introduced to the audience and met with rousing applause and a standing ovation, a testimony to their moving accounts; their collective displays of determination and strength of character, the courage and hope by which they live.

A panel of experts, representing the Senegalese Ministry of Education, the World Bank, UNAIDS, AIDS Campaign Team in Africa (ACTAfrica), the Senegal Union Committee on HIV/AIDS (COSSEL) and the Kenyan Network for Positive Teachers (KENEPOTE), identified and addressed issues raised in the documentary before a question and answer session with the audience.

You can view theCourage and Hope video on the Schools and Health website.

You can also readUNAIDS coverage of the event.