As one of the CVAP volunteers, I had the chance to participate in the 2011 Sports Gala this past summer in Gulu, Uganda. CVAP organizes a Sports Gala every year with the collaboration of its local partner organizations. Each volunteer in the program are placed in different local projects, yet Sports Gala is one of the events that everyone takes part in and each CVAP volunteer is given certain responsibilities. The theme for the 2011 event was HIV/AIDS awareness and our slogan was: “Know yourself, know your status, get tested for HIV/AIDS now!” The objective was to create awareness and encourage HIV/AIDS voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) within the Gulu community.
The event was organized at Pece Stadium, the biggest stadium in Gulu, and included a single knock out style football tournament with eight different local teams. There were also other activities occurred during the two-day event. The Youth Corner inside the stadium had one the tents built in which interactive discussions and educational sessions took place on condom use and distribution. Another corner included tents for the use of voluntary testing and counseling. Throughout the weekend, there were also music, dance, and drama performances that took place related to the theme. All CVAP local partner organizations participated in the event, such as The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) , as well as some other organizations and hospitals such as Red Cross, Health Alert Uganda, Straight Talk and Gulu Referral Hospital. The event was an ultimate success for CVAP: a total of 631 people from the Gulu community got tested at that weekend and now know their status.
As part of my role, I was the official Sports Gala photographer of the event. My responsibility was to follow all the football matches, take group photos, and portray a bit of all the activities that took place at the weekend. I also met the editor of a local newspaper who was recording the event for the preparation of a short documentary video. Sports Gala weekend was one of the most memorable times of my volunteer trip with CVAP. I felt very grateful for being given the opportunity to photograph such an important event and had the chance to meet so many great people through this cause. I also bonded very much with the great part of the audience, the children, and enjoyed photographing those moments.
More from Project Maisha next week.