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Interfaith Memorial Service to mark International AIDS Candlelight Memorial

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AIDS is a challenge, but it also represents an opportunity for communities of

faith to respond with ministries of healing and hope, of concern and compassion.

On May 18, 2008, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial was held in

approximately 4,500 communities in 93 countries making it the largest grassroots

AIDS event to date. The annual event, coordinated worldwide by the Global Health

Council, commemorates the lives lost to AIDS, demonstrates support for people

living HIV/AIDS, and mobilizes community-based responses to HIV/AIDS. Nagpur

YMCA, implementing the largest operational HIV program in Nagpur district

organized an " Interfaith Service " to mark the day.

More than 200 people gathered for the memorial service. A two-minute silence

was observed during the service. The event was attended by a cross-section of

the public, including many HIV positive people, their families and supporters,

religious leaders, media and general public.

Leaders from various religions paid homage to the departed and renewed their

commitments to fight HIV in Nagpur. Prominent among them included Rev. Dr. C. H.

Akbar, Director of Outreach Mission India, Bhikkhu Mahapanth, Principal of

Bhadandharma Junior College, Pujari Shivkumar Arya, Arya Samaj, Nagpur, Janab

Gaffar Shakir, Urdu Hindi Shayar Kavi, Bhai Balveer Singh, Kirtankar, Gurudwara

Singh Sabha and Fr. Lemos, Director, Nagpur Multipurpose Social Service


P. Fernandes, General Secretary of the YMCA briefed the gathering about the

significance of the day and called for a greater collaboration from the leaders

of religions to respond to this major challenge particularly the stigma that

continue to be associated with it. P. S. Bansod, President of the YMCA also

spoke on the occasion.

F. Borges, Program Manager and Naresh Thorat, Team Leader, Advocacy and

Networking and staff of Nagpur YMCA coordinated the program.

F. Borges

National Focal Point 2008 (India), Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS

Program Manager, HIV/AIDS

The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA)

140, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nagpur, 440001, Maharashtra, India

Email: peter.borges@...; petervision2025@... | Website:


Phone: +91-712-2524 834, 2548 789, 2540 024; Telefax: +91-712-2548 789; Cell:

+91-9923414559; Skype: peterfloriano

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