Toronto, Canada – A Tanzanian youth, with links to a Toronto-based charitable organisation, was today announced as having created the winning logo design for AIDS 2014 - the 20th International AIDS Conference – being held in Melbourne, Australia in July 2014. This follows a global competition for youth aged between 10 and 30 years old launched by the International AIDS Society.
Yohana Haule (21) is a young artist who has been working with the organisation Africa’s Children-Africa’s Future (AC-AF) since October 2011 through their office in Dar es Salaam. AC-AF first met Yohana at his secondary school graduation. Current Executive Director, Dave Christie and founder of AC-AF, Gita Jaffe, were attending as guests of the school and another youth in their programming. Drawn to Yohana’s talent, he would become the first recipient of the AC-AF Youth Leadership Award. The award looks to strengthen the youths’ skills to develop promising talent into concrete actions that can help the youth achieve their dreams. Since then, he has become the resident artist for the organisation, producing artwork used in programming resources for children and in awareness materials currently being used in Canada.
As Christie explains, “This is an incredible achievement for a young man from Dar es Salaam who, like many youth in Tanzania, has faced many hardships to get to where he is today. When we first met Yohana, we were not only struck by his talent, but by the messages that he was portraying through his art. One of the first images he showed to us was a depiction of the roles women play in Tanzania – both in the strength they bring to the country but the burdens they also face. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the burden on women in the AIDS epidemic is particularly harsh, and here was a young man willing to confront some of those issues.”
Toronto has strong links to the International AIDS Conference having hosted the 16th conference in 2006. As a legacy to that conference, the Global AIDS Initiative was established by the City of Toronto, to fund programming concerning HIV and AIDS undertaken by organisations working in sub-Saharan Africa. For the last two years, AC-AF has been part of the coalition of organisations utilising these funds for its work in Tanzania with children and youth. As a result of the budget passed in January at City Hall, this funding will end in August 2013. Although the financial legacy of AIDS 2006 is coming to an end, the work that the City of Toronto has enabled AC-AF to undertake, including with Yohana, will ensure that the contribution of the people of Toronto will have a lasting impact on AIDS 2014.
For AC-AF, this provides a moment of pride in the accomplishments of the youth they work with. At the heart of their programmes and ethos is a continual focus on the potential of children and youth. As Christie explains, “Our programming does not look to just help children; it is aimed at ensuring children and youth help themselves, both now and in the future. They need encouragement to increase their independence, ensuring that they can support themselves, their families and their community, while fulfilling their dreams. Yohana exemplifies this. Although we are able to provide him with some of the initial opportunities, it is ultimately his effort and talent that has brought him this recognition by the International AIDS Society.”
Yohana will continue to work with AC-AF before travelling to Australia in July 2014 to be officially thanked at the conference for his design. This will be the first time that he has travelled outside of Tanzania.
For more information about Africa’s Children-Africa’s Future (AC-AF) visit: www.ac.af.com.
For more information about the AIDS 2014 conference visit: www.aids2014.org.