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NBA and UNICEF promote AIDS education through sports in China

UNICEF Image: UNICEF image: Samuel Dalembert and school children in China
© UNICEF China\Li Mingfang
Samuel Dalembert sharing his basketball skills with Shanghai school children.

By Charles Rycroft

SHANGHAI, China, 20 June 2006 – UNICEF has teamed up with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to distribute HIV/AIDS education materials in sports kits to schools in seven provinces in China.

The programme builds on last month’s event at UNICEF headquarters in New York, where the partnership between the NBA and UNICEF was announced.

Dubbed ‘Skills for Life in a Box’, the sports kits contain interactive HIV/AIDS learning materials for teachers and peer educators to use in the classroom, as well as a basketball and other sports equipment to help young people learn about inclusion, empathy, teamwork and fair play.

Mobilizing young people

The programme, which supports the UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign, was launched at the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders Asia camp on 11 June.

Many NBA stars are working as coaches at the camp, including Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Childress, Toronto Raptors centre Matt Bonner, Orlando Magic’s Pat Garrity, Houston Rockets guard Richie Frahm, Portland Trail Blazers centre Ha Seung-Jin and Philadelphia 76ers centre Samuel Dalembert.

UNICEF Image: UNICEF image: Learn, Share and Care, NBA stars in Shanghai
© UNICEF China\Li Mingfang
‘Learn, Share and Care’ spelled out on cards held by children and US National Basketball Association stars in Shanghai.

UNICEF China HIV/AIDS Programme Chief Ken Legins explained that the Skills for Life in a Box project was an exciting way to mobilize young people to be more sympathetic towards those living with AIDS.

“They care by showing that all children can be included in sports and, through inclusion, stigma can be defeated,” he said.

‘Learn, Share and Care’

China AIDS Youth Ambassador Zhao Ying added: “I am very happy to learn more about AIDS today, to share with each other and care for friends affected.  Sports is one way I think we can all work together and show how we can care – by including all children affected by AIDS in games and sports.”

The Youth and AIDS campaign in China has adopted the slogan ‘Learn, Share and Care’ to help young people protect themselves while addressing stigma and discrimination, the greatest barriers to HIV/AIDS care and treatment. The slogan was written on cards in Chinese and held aloft at the close of the launch.

Mr. Dalembert of the Philadelphia 76ers addressed the audience gathered at the Shanghai University of Sport. “We cannot  stand on the sideline and just watch it happen,” he said. “We have to get involved. All young people have to act.”



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