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Charity Special: Students use DIY ingenuity to battle against AIDS

Updated: 2014-03-11 08:59
By Du Juan ( China Daily)

 Charity Special: Students use DIY ingenuity to battle against AIDS

Li promotes her DIY products to Michel Sidibe, the UN undersecretary-general and executive director of UNAIDS. Provided to China Daily

Though only a high school student from Western Academy of Beijing, Li Jianing is making headlines by using the power of entrepreneurship to raise money for HIV-positive children.

Li started a project called "Red Ribbon in DIY" last May. Participants in the project make small DIY products and sell them to collect money for young AIDS patients in remote areas of China.

"I see there is a big role that adolescents can play in raising awareness about HIV," Li said at the Programme Coordinating Board meeting, which she serves as a representative of Chinese youths.

The meeting, which aims to promote HIV prevention, testing and treatment globally, is held in Geneva on December, 2013.

It is organized by UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

Li shares her experiences in helping people battle against HIV with young representatives from all over the world during the event.

When people ask her about the origin of DIY project, Li said it actually comes from her personal hobby and a school extracurricular activity.

"In my spare time I make a lot of earrings, key chains, necklaces and other accessories. After a successful sale at a bazaar held in the school, I thought that maybe I could use this money to help others," Li said.

The project's founders are 10 students hailing from different countries, including China, the United States, Singapore, South Korea and France.

Now Li and her friends even have a fixed place to create their handmade products during spare time.

Li said they have already collected 3,000 yuan ($490) since their first sale.

"We have established relations with the young AIDS groups who live in the Daliangshan Mountain Yi ethnic group area, which is located in Sichuan province," Li said. "The money helps improve patients' nutrition by providing them rich and healthy meals."

She told China Daily that she is planning a trip to the area in the upcoming summer to visit those AIDS patients at her age and help them.

According to the data, people aged from 15 to 24 accounted for 39 percent of all new infections in 2012 globally.

In addition, the infection rate of HIV/AIDS for adolescents has been increasing for the past few years in China. It has gradually become a social problem and big challenge in the country.

Therefore, Li said her project also helps Chinese youth access information about HIV/AIDS prevention.

"We set up social networks to communicate with others and to spread the knowledge of HIV/AIDS," she said. "When you search 'Red_Ribbon_in_DIY' in Weibo and Wechat, you will find us."