Sunday, December 2, 2012

Supporting orphaned children in Africa: Stop AIDS Now

I was fortunate enough this week to stumble across a most remarkable event whilst walking through the streets of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is many things to many people but to me it is a constant source of surprise and amazement, mainly because of it's window on the raw humanity of our world and also to the shear creativeness of our species.

I was walking towards Amsterdam's Nieuwmarkt, the open market space that spreads out in front of one of the ancient gates known as De Waag, which was once the Gestapo HQ for the German Occupying forces during WWII,

On most weekends this square, or 'plein,' can be occupied by street traders, rowdy tourists and the odd street performer but on this occasion it was occupied by strings of large cardboard dolls house.

Each one had been printed as a large cardboard 'cutout', in the manner of a children's toy and had been folded and constructed into the form of a doll's house. Individually they stood 5' tall.

This in itself was a creative and amazing piece of art but in addition to this the organisors, Stop AIDS Now (Holland), had arranged this assemblage of, possibly 100+ dolls' houses, into the form of a crossed ribbon. Almost filling the entire square with them.

The positioning of each doll's house was precisely placed as was the location of the event because not more than a stones-throw away is Amsterdam's Red light district.

To advertise the event the organisers had arranged for some Dutch celebrities to act as ambassadors, Angela Groothuizen en Nicolette Kluijver, to pose for photographs and to be interviewed by Dutch TV channels. An excellent event, well publicised.

I took the liberty, for you my readers, to climb the official photographer's platform to capture a few photographs, to better record the event and to experience the layout in it's entirety.

The organiser's representatives were too busy speaking to the TV crews and celebrities to be able to discuss the event with me, at this point. So, I continued on my way and returned later when things were quieter.

I was told that Stop AIDS Now had devised this campaign to highlight the plight of children in Africa who had become orphaned by AIDS, and that these children were now struggling to raise their siblings, unaided, acting as a substitute parent.

They very kindly gave me a small version of the cardboard cutout doll's house, which acts as a collection box. This is shown below.

These small cardboard versions are available from Stop Aids Now's Dutch website but feel free to print out the picture below and construct it from cardboard. Any money you collect will be put to good use.

I hope, when you look at it, it will remind you of the children in this world who have been denied a full and enjoyable childhood by circumstances beyond their control and of the blight that AIDS has brought to all humanity.

No comments:

Post a Comment