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by Melissa Lishman, staff writer

The annual AIDS Walk Africa is sponsored by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, in order to raise awareness and funds for children and families living with AIDS and HIV around the world. This year the foundation is offering scholarships for walkers between the ages of 18 and 25 who are interested in AIDS Walk Africa, which will take place in Swaziland June 30 to July 5.
The scholarships will cover the $15,000 each participant must raise for the Foundation and a $1,000 deposit that covers their meals, lodging, and local transportation. Participants arrange their own transportation to Africa.

Experienced guides will lead walkers into communities in the area affected with HIV and AIDS, where they will visit foundation clinics and hospitals, meet doctors, nurses, scientists, and, most importantly, the children and families living with the disease. The Foundation hopes that the participants of the walk will grow in understanding with what is going on in this community today, and that this will broaden their views of life.

“ Swaziland is home to the most intense HIV and AIDS epidemic in the world,” said Robert Yule, the foundation’s media manager, who explains that in Swaziland one third of the adult population lives with HIV. “Globally, an estimated 33.2 million people are living with HIV, 2.5 million of whom are children,” said Yule.

One of the main goals for the foundation is to combat pediatric AIDS. In order to do so the foundation creates training and research programs, including a Foundation Youth Ambassadors program for scholarship recipients who, during the school year, will share their story with different schools and communities.

“ Youth involvement in the fight against pediatric AIDS is critical to the development of future philanthropic and humanitarian leadership to combat this devastating pandemic,” said Yule.
By Feb. 29, interested students should submit to www.pedaids.org/AWAScholarship.an essay of 500 words or less answering the question, “What can YOU do as a young person to make a difference in the fight against pediatric AIDS?”

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