Story and pictures by Innocent Kommwa, Malawi
The year 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial commemorations. This year’s global theme was “In solidarity, we can end HIV”. Although the main international events were held concurrently the world over on 19th May 2013, Oxfam staff in Malawi joined in by hosting a short event on Friday 31st May at its offices in Lilongwe. The event attracted the participation of representatives from some of Oxfam’s neighbouring organisations in the Green Heritage Building, such as the Norwegian Church AID and the United Nations. Events for the day included the symbolic wearing of ribbons, a presentation of Oxfam’s AIDS workplace policy and programmes, a testimony on living positively and symbolic candle-lighting.
In her remarks, Oxfam Associate Country Director, Abi Akinyemi emphasised the need for Oxfam staff to reflect and think beyond raising awareness on issues of HIV and AIDS, and begin to show compassion.“We have come to a point where we have realised that there is lots of awareness. We now need to go beyond that and show that we care. We need to reach people within our office who may either be infected, or affected by HIV and AIDS,” said Akinyemi. More importantly, if our members of staff and family are living with HIV, they should know that we care and there is support for them within Oxfam.”