World AIDS Day: Can one day make a difference?

December 1, 2010

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    In Baalbek, Lebanon youth leaders organized a run to promote health and well being. Photo:
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    GCC leaders in Swat ran a training around HIV/AIDS issues with students from a local middle school. Photo:

Working with Global Citizen Corps youth around the world, I’ve come to realize that change is possible — and these young people are leading the way. So, for a little inspiration to us all today on World AIDS Day, here's a glimpse at how hundreds of youth from seven countries around the globe are taking action on global health issues. These leaders have gone through global citizenship trainings to design and implement meaningful action projects — that empower not only themselves but their communities.

Events are going as I type and we’ll hear more about the scale of these projects in the coming weeks — but here are just a few activities that leaders have been involved in, in the lead-up to World AIDS Day…

In Baalbek, Lebanon youth leaders organized a run to promote health and well-being. Hundreds of young people gathered in the streets to draw attention to health issues in their community. Only a few weeks back, I was lucky enough to meet these students as they excitedly discussed the event that they had planned. It’s amazing to see that they pulled off their event! Congratulations to this crew, it’s been months in the making to organize local officials and manage the resources to implement.

Leading up to World AIDS Day Global Citizen Corps leaders in Swat — a district in Pakistan about 160 km outside of Islamabad — ran a training around HIV/AIDS issues with students from a local middle school. Swat was hit hard by recent flooding and youth have been organizing campaigns locally to gather materials and resources to distribute to the community as well as organizing trainings and events.

In the United States students are organizing awareness events across the country. One group is hosting an exhibit, followed by a dance to raise funds for a global AIDS organization. Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City has been volunteering at a local HIV/AIDS clinic.

And right now, in Iraq, youth leaders are organizing blood drives and trainings for schools on global health issues from diabetes to malnutrition. In Indonesia, Global Citizen Corps leaders are supporting relief efforts and working with local Mercy Corps development projects.

It's amazing to see our youth around the world making today count.