Submitted by Nomhle Canca and Debra Townes
To commemorate World AIDS Day 2022, Southern Africa Alumnae Chapter (SAAC) partnered with Las Vegas Alumnae for a WAD event on Dec. 3, 2022 for a webinar with HIV/AIDS experts, activists, and survivors from across Southern Africa and the United States.
More than 65 viewers signed onto the webinar and 40 viewers submitted the survey. 90 percent of the viewers were extremely satisfied and thought the information shared was very relevant. The key message for most viewers was that “the need is still great to support those infected”.
SAAC President, Soror Sherida Stevens, gave opening remarks sharing the great impact SAAC hopes to make in 17 countries that form the SAAC service area. Six of the seven International projects are located in our area including the Vashti Village (Eswatini) where the webinar donations will be allocated.
SAAC member Dr. Dorotha Love Hall provided the keynote address, focusing on the national WAD theme “Reflection, Celebration, Rejuvenation.” She highlighted that Delta Sigma Theta has worked with communities many years helping people living with HIV/AIDS to live longer and healthier lives. On both sides of the ocean, newborns infected with HIV in South Africa & USA, early 2000’s faced complex social and economic challenges. The tight knit communities that embraced them have successfully empowered them to dream big with hope that they too can have successful lives and provide impactful service to the community.
Soror Debra Townes introduced Thembi Ngcamphalala, Swazi woman, sharing her experience through film detailing the Eswatini epidemic from 1996 to 2021 when the country was on the brink of destruction but turned the curve on the HIV epidemic. Today, Thembi spends her time helping others navigate their journey from diagnosis to treatment with hope for a healthier future.
Other United States-based speakers shared the impact of HIV on minority communities and areas of opportunity that sorors can have greater impact to stop the spread of HIV; improve services for people living with HIV/AIDs and stop stigma and discrimination through education and dialogue.
SAAC is committed to developing lasting collaborations with community partners to bolster the tremendous progress already made in protecting the most vulnerable and reversing the impact of the HIV epidemic in Southern Africa. SAAC is committed to educating ourselves and others on current treatments and social programs to improve the lives of people living with HIV. Lastly, but not least, SAAC is committed to celebrating with people living with HIV to hope for longer and healthier lives.
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Wonderful collaboration with the Las Vegas Alumnae Chapter on our first World Aids Day Program.