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A number of year 9 and 10 Aboriginal students at Forbes High have been busy creating a street art mural as part of a program to raise awareness for hepatitis C.
The project, Your mob, my mob, our mob is run by the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Centre (AHMRC) and aims to raise awareness and increase knowledge of hepatitis C through peer education. The project is aimed at Aboriginal adolescents aged between 12 and 19 years, who are taught key messages about hepatitis C in a three day workshop.
Hepatitis C Project Officer at AHMRC, Lisa Panton, is in charge of running the project at Forbes High with the help of Kerry Walker, the Aboriginal Project Officer for Hepatitis, at the New South Wales (NSW) Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS). On completion of the workshop, the students will become peer educators and help communicate information about hepatitis C to their peers. The 11 students who participated in the program helped design and create the mural with the help of a professional graffiti artist.
Ms Walker says that involving the students in painting the mural establishes a sense of community. 'When you've got something like a mural that they've created themselves, it creates a sense of pride and having a mural that's forever on display will continue the buzz around hepatitis,' she said. Ms Walker and Ms Panton say it's important to talk about hepatitis to help break down the stigma and shame associated with being ill-informed about the virus.
The girl who features in the mural is Nadika Vidler-McKeown, one of the Aboriginal students who participated in the workshop. She is very happy with being chosen as the face of the mural. 'It feels awesome, I'm really proud. I like being able to represent my culture with things like that,' she said.
One of the most important things the students learnt was to avoid sharing items such as toothbrushes, razors and syringes and to steer clear of getting backyard tattoos or piercings, as these can easily spread the hepatitis C virus.
Source: Forbes Advocate