In August 2001, 90 HIV-affected and infected children from around South Africa participated in a National Children's Forum on HIV/AIDS. The event was aimed at providing children with the opportunity to engage with representatives from the national government, as well as members of Parliament.
The Children's Institute facilitated the forum in collaboration with Soul City; the Children's Rights Centre; the Department of Health and the parliamentary Joint Monitoring Committee on Children, Youth and Persons with Disability.
Information collected at the forum has been included in several documents by the Institute, including commentary on the draft Children's Bill, the draft National Health Bill and the Social Assistance Act. Feedback on the forum has been presented at several national and international conferences, including the AIDS2002 Conference in Barcelona. The forum also attracted extensive media coverage.
Some of the children who attended the forum addressed participants at a national HIV and Education Conference in 2002, where they delivered powerful and moving testimonies that highlighted the gaps in the Department of Education's response to HIV/AIDS.
The forum report captures the experiences of children affected by HIV/AIDS through the stories and artwork of the participating children. Each chapter in the report explores themes that emerged from the children's shared experiences.
This project was supported by the Department of Health and the Bernard van Leer Foundation.
The National Children's Forum on HIV/AIDS: Workshop report
Giese S, Meintjes H & Proudlock P 2001