On March 9, Jesuit-run St Ignatius College held its annual Youths Against Aids festival where 268 young people from eight schools participated. The participating schools were: Zimbabwe Republic Police High, Chishawasha Primary, Lord Malvern, St Peter’s Secondary, Oriel Girls High, St Dominic’s Girls High and the hosting school St Ignatius College.

The festival ran under the theme ‘Spread the word and change a life – a positive future requires a positive thought’. It aimed at motivating young people to reach out to their peers and promote a profound appreciation of positive behaviour. The theme was embraced by the participating schools and this was clearly expressed in their various artistic presentations.

Highlights came from Chishawasha Primary School which presented a poem, advocating for care and support for children living in the streets. The poem “Achaitaseiko mwana (What will become of this child?)” presented a situation where a street child was being subjected to injustices and abuse and the community was doing nothing to heave off the challenges.

St Peter’s Secondary School dramatized the ignorance of various people towards HIV and AIDS and its treatment, showing clearly how spreading the word or information can make a difference and change a life. Their message was narrowed down to individual devotions, behaviors and values by “So Profound”, a poet who bases his creative performances on Christian values and virtues. The above highlighted performances were part of the numerous presentations which kept the students glued to their seats from 09:00 to 16:00.

Co-organizers of the festival, Jesuit Aids Project (JAP), said the objective of such festivals is to make young people experience how education can be packaged together with entertainment to form a recreational blend which ensures positive growth. Such festivals are instrumental in contributing to the integral development of the youths in the country.