Stephen Lewis, author of Race Against Time, former Deputy Director of UNICEF, and founder of AIDS Free World gave an inspirational talk on October 3 to a full house in the Sanford Institute of Public Policy as part of this year’s WISER Week. In his talk, titled “The Burden of HIV/AIDS on Girls and Women in Africa,”Lewis spoke about how gender inequality around the world and particularly in Africa makes women and girls more vulnerable to poverty, HIV, and sexual violence. Lewis’s message of striving to create equality for girls and women is deeply important to the heart of WISER. As Lewis said, “If you look at the entire number of kids in secondary school in Africa, only sixteen percent are girls. That’s why what WISER is doing is so remarkably admirable… They are attempting to create a girls boarding school which will protect young girls from all of the predatory sexual overtures and the susceptibility to HIV and the sense of isolation and … marginalization of the lives they lead.”
Lewis’s caring manner and messages brought many in the audience to tears. He spoke with passion for all those marginalized by HIV and AIDS and he inspired all in attendance to keep working toward goals that serve humanity.
View highlights of Lewis’s speech below, courtesy of the Duke Global Health Institute: