As many as 100,000 children in India are infected with HIV/AIDS, which not only threatens their health but can also debilitate their families, depriving them of parental love and protection. HIV-associated stigma and discrimination can lead to isolation and reduce their chances of receiving basic education. Children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS also undergo severe psychological stress.
The USAID-supported Dancing Feat project has involved more than 1,900 HIV/AIDS at-risk, infected and affected children in Mumbai. A local partner, Committed Communities Development Trust, taught the children dance as an innovative medium to provide counseling sessions, changing attitudes and behavior and building confidence among at-risk children. Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts, a renowned modern dance institute in India, supported the project by choreographing dances for the children. Dance was used as a means to strengthen their concentration, motivate them to adopt healthy habits, teach them life skills and counsel them on topics such as adolescence and HIV/AIDS prevention. The project also provided supplementary nutrition to the children. Performing group dances accompanied by pulsating music on themes such as non-discrimination against HIV-positive people was a major achievement for these children.
The project provided at-risk children a unique platform to express themselves confidently. Children feel empowered, have better self-esteem and are better able to make informed decisions. The project exposed children to diverse ideas, improving opportunities for their future. Many of these children became catalysts or peer educators in their communities, educating others on substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and stigma reduction towards HIV-positive people.
Last updated: November 22, 2013