Through theater, seven young boys, ages eight through 14, are encouraging abstinence, behavior change and promoting healthy lifestyles in an effort to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Mozambique's Angonia district.
These boys were first drawn to the stage after seeing a group of the district's senior boys perform an interactive production about HIV/AIDS prevention, supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Inspired by their elders' performance and message, the young boys formed the "Junior Theatre Group of Angonia."
The PEPFAR-supported Junior Theatre group hosts performances about HIV/AIDS and its impact on issues including gender, children's rights, family relationships and friendship. The play is an educational, interactive performance that emphasizes behavior change as a means to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Throughout the performances, members of the audience are encouraged to provide scenarios and ask questions about HIV/AIDS. The boys use these questions on stage and incorporate the answers into their act in hopes of promoting safe sexual behavior and conduct. Speaking about the program, Junior Theatre Group member Francelino Issufo says, "We like to do theater about abstinence. This is the only way that people understand that this is a unique way to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS."
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