1997. 3 p.
FHI 360
Periodical title: 
AIDS Captions, 4, 1, 1997
Fassil Nebyeleul was a 21-year-old university student when AIDS claimed one of his best friends. The death shocked Fassil and his mates. They had never imagined that HIV could hit so close to home. But they knew the behavior that had led to their friend's death was no different from their own. "We decided that we were all HIV-positive and calculated our time of death as four or five years," Fassil said. "So we said, let us do something before our lives are gone." What they did was organize a group called Save Your Generation to warn other young people about the threat of HIV/AIDS. Each of the five founding members invited five friends to the first meeting, where they talked about how to prevent HIV transmission and urged new members to spread the word. From that original group, Save Your Generation Association (SYGA) has grown into a registered Ethiopian nongovernmental organization (NGO) with a paid staff of 14 and more than 6,000 dues-paying members. The founding members (who later learned that they were not HIV-positive), are very much alive and have expanded the organization's activities well beyond the university community. Most of their efforts are aimed at saving Ethiopia's lost youth -- the tens of thousands of school dropouts and other unemployed young people who are particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. SYGA is one of seven NGOs that received support from the AIDS Control and Prevention (AIDSCAP) Project over three years to bring HIV/AIDS prevention education to out-of-school youth in six urban areas. These projects have enlisted the help of young volunteers and community organizations to inform and motivate a segment of the Ethiopian population that is difficult to reach and very much at risk.
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