An essay competition for staff and their teenage children and handing out of red ribbons to customers at all their branches are some of the activities that Standard Chartered Bank has planned to generate awareness of HIV/AIDS, as the world marks Aids Day on 1 December.
The initiative is in line with Standard Chartered Bank’s key focus and global commitment to education and awareness generation in the fight against the spread of HIV. Demonstrating its high level of concern in Sri Lanka, Standard Chartered Bank played a pioneering role in the formation of the Lanka Business Coalition (LBCH) for HIV, a non-profit body of corporations and businesses, established in 2007, to fight the spread of the pandemic.
Standard Chartered’s lead HIV champion, Director of LBCH and Head of Legal, Compliance and Assurance, Rasadari Perera noted that while AIDS in Sri Lanka is a low prevalence issue, awareness among communities is still the most powerful tool to arrest the spread.
“We still need to keep up collective efforts of education and awareness as these are the only ways in protecting the communities and critical in halting the spread, given that there is still no cure for the virus.”
Central to the Bank’s approach is the training of ‘HIV Champions’ to educate their peers and conduct ‘training of trainer’s’ seminars. Collaborating with the National Council for HIV and Health Ministry, to-date Standard Chartered Bank’s HIV Champions have trained more than 1,000 people including the bank’s staff.
Earlier in June this year, the Bank globally launched an interactive web site, www.vir.us aimed at providing young, web savvy consumer audiences, relying on internet as their primary source of information with basic introduction to HIV education.
Anirvan Ghosh Dastidar, Chief Executive Officer said: “Nothing is more important to us than the health and well being of staff and their families including the communities they live in and we hope this year’s essay competition will make a difference in addressing the awareness levels of one of the biggest global challenges of our time.”