What I’m about to tell you makes me really happy. Addis Beza is an Ethiopian dancing troupe of young people who perform regularly in front of mobile HIV testing vans to encourage people to get tested for free.
In Ethiopia more than half of the population is under the age of 24. We all know that these people are most likely to contract the HIV virus. Because of cultural attitudes it’s very difficult for young people to get educated about sex and all the bad that could come with it. These young people are also the generation that probably has never known a world without HIV and AIDS.
Well some of them have found a way to get the subject out there. A group of youth in Addis Ababa called the Beza Anti AIDS youth group are using music and their dance skills to spread the messages about HIV prevention to a wide public. Most of all they want to reach their peers. Addis Beza, which means: to live for others, consist of young members between the age of 15 and 20.
If you watch the video you’ll hear Mulualem Samson, one of the member introduce he’s fellow dancers and explain to you what it is that they do. Mulualem says that he joined the group just for the music and the dancing, but he has learned a lot while being in the group. He says that the kids in the group used to fight gangs from other areas and things like that. So the dancing group kind of saved them. For Mulualem it was a way to express himself. Before he joined the group he would never go up to someone and start talking to them. You could say that he loves what he’s doing. The boys work very hard to gather people through music.
The whole point of the dancing is to afterward talk to the people about HIV and safe sex, hand out leaflets and just create awareness. Thanks to Addis Beza youth can have discussion groups where they talk about all of these subjects. Because if they talk about it in society, they could get punished. I’m just glad to see something like this where young people are willing to educate and to reach their peers in order to prevent HIV/AIDS. The best part is they are actually having fun while doing it. I hope other organizations take these kids as an example.