Breaking down the gender bias
One of the CWB’s founding principles for prevention is breaking down the gender bias that exists across communities. HIV/Aids sufferers are often stigmatised, particularly females. As Andy says, “I was visiting a women’s rescue shelter in a slum and they literally had a wheelbarrow outside to pick up the women and girls who had been thrown out of their homes on to the streets by their husbands [after they were diagnosed].”
One of the foundation’s main aims, therefore, is to empower girls, achieving this via the creation of mixed-gender teams and tournaments. Research and their experience shows that this method promotes respect between the two as boys begin to see their female counterparts as crucial members of a winning team.
And it’s not just the gender stigma that is addressed but the discrimination that often exists between those who are suffering and those who are not. Often this gap is perpetuated through a myriad of myths about how the virus is passed on, such as the incorrect assumption that it can be contracted through touch, tears, saliva or sweat. Consequently many of the 22,200 children under the age of 15 living with HIV – largely passed on at birth from the mother or from contaminated medical equipment – in Rwanda are often outcast, bullied, and shunned by society. The CWB tries