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Refugees in Kenya See VOA AIDS Documentary

Refugees in the Kakuma Camp in Kenya watch “AIDS: Living in the Shadows” in the waiting area of the camp's main hospital.

On World AIDS Day December 1, the VOA documentary AIDS: Living in the Shadows was featured in many AIDS Day remembrances around the world, including a refugee camp in Kenya.

Since December 2, refugees at the Kakuma Camp in northwestern Kenya have been able to see the acclaimed VOA documentary. Narrated by Elton John, the documentary focuses on the stigma that comes with AIDS, a stigma that the victims of AIDS have to battle even as they are battling the disease.

The screenings of Living in the Shadows are made possible by FilmAID, a nonprofit that uses film and media to bring life-saving information to refugees all over the world. In Kakuma, the organization has set up large televisions at the camp’s main hospital and in UNHCR waiting areas to show the documentary.

Speaking of Living in the Shadows, FilmAid describes it as a “perfect tool for changing and transforming people’s attitudes and behavior.” Officials at the camp say about 400 people a day see the film.

VOA Director David Ensor praises the film as “a clear-cut example of the impact the work of VOA’s staff continues to make on such a significant issue across the globe.”

In addition to the Kenyan refugee camp, the documentary was screened during an AIDS Day program at the Foreign Press Center in Washington and 24 U.S. Embassies around the world, five of which were in Africa.

Of all the places where Living in the Shadows has been shown, VOA Senior Executive Producer Beth Mendelson, who with her staff made the documentary, says she is most heartened by the audience at the Kakuma Camp. The motto for World AIDS Day at the camp was “I am my brothers’/ sisters’ keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS.” That is also a fitting description of AIDS: Living in the Shadows.