Catholic Education Office supporting HIV fundraiser
For the fifth consecutive year, Melbourne's Catholic Education Office is lending its support to The Australian AIDS Fund's HIV/AIDS Awareness project, Schools AIDS Day, due to take place this week.
The event is held on the nearest school day to July 17, to mark the birthday of Eve van Grafhorst (pictured), the first Australian child to be infected by HIV through a blood transfusion in the mid 1980's.
Schools are provided with liturgical notes and reflect on the plight of the world's HIV infected people, drawing too on the discrimination that marked Eve's life.
School AIDS Day continues in the wake of a number of setbacks in what had been a very fruitful relationship between the Australian AIDS Fund and the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
The Archdiocese was supporting the Fund to the tune of $30,000 per year. This support has now been removed. The San Michel and Rosehaven housing facilities, which made an important contribution to AIDS Care in Victoria, have been quietly closed.
School AIDS Day aims to keep alive the memory of the then NSW toddler, Eve van Grafhorst, who would have been celebrating her 21st birthday is she were still alive this month.
Eve and her family were so reviled and stigmatised because of her HIV status that they were forced to flee for sanctuary to New Zealand where Eve was to die as an 11 year old in 1993. She was mourned on both sides of the Tasman as a heroine for her bravery in confronting HIV discrimination and seeking to hug those who would demean her.
Eve was the inspiration for the establishment of the Australian AIDS Fund, an AIDS-care charity that was to become an agency member of Catholic Social Services Victoria.
Australian AIDS Fund | School AIDS Day | Eve Van Grafhorst - a reflection (PDF)
15 Jul 2003