South African cricketers meet children affected by HIV

South African cricket captain Graeme Smith, Faf du Plessis, Alviro Peterson and Wayne Parnell, along with members of the South African cricket team’s coaching staff, met a group of children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS.

This was done as part of an event to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic in South Africa and its effects on children in particular.

The Think Wise Champion campaign, a partnership between the International Cricket Council, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was started in 2003 and aims to raise awareness of HIV across the cricketing world and reduce stigma and discrimination towards young people living with HIV.

The players provided a group of children from Kimberley’s Sinothando Children’s Home with a cricket coaching session, before participating in a question and answer session and a discussion on HIV with the youngsters.

The home was established in 2003 and accommodates 35 children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS, some of whom are living with HIV.

The home works closely with and receives support from the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS (NAPWA), a well recognized organisation advocating for protection of human rights of people affected by HIV in South Africa.

“Even though we are in the middle of an important series at the moment against Sri Lanka, it is important that we take time out of our preparation to support causes such as the Think Wise campaign,” said Smith.

“Having been a Think Wise Champion for a number of years now, it is vital as cricketers that we continue to use our profile to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS, which is such a prevalent issue in cricket playing countries.

“By having the opportunity to learn about the issues that young people living in South Africa, who are affected by HIV, have to face on a day-to-day basis, hopefully we can raise awareness of the stigma and discrimination that they face.”

A series of activities are planned across the cricketing world during 2012, as part of the Think Wise campaign, to raise awareness of HIV. This includes supporting a number of grass-roots cricket projects in Africa, in partnership with Cricket Without Boundaries, in Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

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