About SHARC Some Background… Started in 2003, the Student HIV/AIDS Resistance Campaign (SHARC) was formed by a group of Rhodes students as a response to the lack of awareness surrounding HIV/AIDS on campus. Since then, SHARC has become the largest and most active society on campus. We currently have 485 members and we remain at the centre of the University’s response to HIV/AIDS. What we do… Peer Education The SHARC Peer Education programme trains Rhodes University students to facilitate workshops on safe sexual practices and the social issues surrounding HIV/AIDS – including stigma, disclosure and general awareness. Workshops are held for all first year students during O-week and throughout the year in local high schools. Peer-Ed is one of the most active of SHARC’s portfolios – with 175 students signing up at the beginning of 2009 to train to become Peer-Eds! Community Engagement Work with local HIV/AIDS organisations, especially with children who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. A tutoring/mentoring programme which involves helping high school learners with their school work and assigning personal mentors to children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, many of whom are from child-headed households. A number of fundraising initiatives and collections of food, books, clothes and toiletries. Testing & Services SHARC holds regular testing drives on campus – this year, companies such as NewStart were also invited to run testing drives and ensure that as many students as possible could be tested SHARC ensures that condoms and femidoms are distributed throughout the University in easily accessible locations This year, SHARC produced posters that detailed patients’ rights in connection with HIV/AIDS. These were distributed to local clinics as well as Settler’s Hospital. YEAH! The YEAH! Initiative (Youth for the Education and Activism of HIV/AIDS) aims to train high school learners to be peer educators in their own schools. On the first weekend of May 2009, SHARC held the YEAH! Camp – where 35 high school learners participated in a number of workshops in which they learned about HIV/AIDS in its social context. Since then, the YEAH! Peer Educators have held numerous workshops on HIV/AIDS in their various high schools. Activism During this HIV/AIDS Awareness Week, SHARC will be running the ‘SHARC Demands Campaign’, in which we will march, hold a panel discussion and put together a petition to demand a more pro-active institutional response to HIV/AIDS at Rhodes, as well as a permanent Task Officer. SHARC believes that our government should be held accountable, especially in terms of a progressive response to HIV/AIDS. SHARC members participated in protests and questioning at the ANCYL rally and the Election Debate during Human Rights Week. Gender issues SHARC was actively involved in this year’s ‘Anti Sex and Gender-Based Violence Week’ – particularly in the ‘My Body, My Choice’ exhibition, in which female volunteers were photographed in the nude with placards bearing messages that sought to reclaim the female body as a personal space. Several SHARC members also participated in the ‘Sexual Violence = Silence’ Protest, which aimed to raise awareness about the fact that 8 in 9 women in South Africa are raped and never go on to report the rape. Media SHARC has been responsible for a number of media and informational campaigns this year, including: • Distributing pamphlets on basic HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention and testing •Information boards on the link between HIV/AIDS and alcohol, and HIV/AIDS and Sexual & Reproductive Rights. •The ‘How HIV Affects me campaign’, in which Rhodes students were given the chance to tell their stories in relation to HIV/AIDS in their lives. •SHARC also gave a presentation on how to sensitively report on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS at the Media Sensitivity Workshops held by the Oppidan Press in the first term. Beneficiaries All proceeds from the SHARC Art & Wine Auction will go towards helping children and teenagers who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. A donation will be made to the Raphael Siyaphumelela Programme, which provides education and support for teenagers from the age of 16 onwards. The Siyaphumelela initiative includes week-long camps which focus on promoting safe sex, abstinence, faithfulness and self-esteem. SHARC also hopes to use the proceeds from the Art & Wine Auction to create a sustainable bursary fund which will provide young people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS with the opportunity to pursue a tertiary education.