Yoga Journal, a widely-circulated magazine in the U.S is asking its readers to help raise funds of $250,000 . This is to build a voluntary counselling and AIDS testing centre in Mumbai's infamous Dharavi slums by World AIDS Day Dec 1.
"That ($250,000) is just 25,000 people making a donation of $10 each," said Seane Corn, a celebrated yoga instructor in California who has conceived the Dharavi campaign called "Off the Mat, Into the World".
Yoga Journal will enter anybody donating $10 or more into a sweepstakes to win prizes, including a private yoga session (retail value $400) in Los Angeles or New York with Corn, who is also a YouthAIDS ambassador.
YouthAIDS is a non-profit organisation that focuses on reproductive health and AIDS control in developing countries. This initiative is focussed on India, which is said to have between 2.5 million and 3.1 million HIV/AIDS patients.
Through this campaign, Corn wants yoga enthusiasts to engage their communities in reducing the fear, ignorance and discrimination often associated with HIV/AIDS.
On a visit to India earlier this year, she had witnessed the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS there, especially on women and children. She was particularly touched by YouthAIDS' work in Dharavi.
YouthAIDS deputy director Marshall Stowell told IANS: "I am optimistic we can reach the target of $250,000. Yoga Journal is committed to running an additional ad this fall to promote the campaign and Seane Corn is dedicated to getting the word out.
"YouthAIDS centres offer a comfortable, safe environment providing same day test results, which are not typical in the developing world. Individuals who test HIV positive are referred for treatment, care and support programmes," he said.
YouthAIDS is also organising 'Faces of India', a fundraising gala in Washington DC on Nov 2. The evening, billed as 'Hollywood meets Bollywood', will be hosted by Ashley Judd, and will celebrate her trip for YouthAIDS to India with Corn and possibly Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan, Sushmita Sen and Akshay Kumar.