During the World TB Conference held in Cape Town last year I produced two quick profiles on TB Activists
A scaled and fully mobile replica of an informal home very commonly found in South Africa and poverty stricken areas the world over was created to act as a gallery space for photographs and stories that chronicle lifestyle and living conditions that contribute to the growth of tuberculosis and HIV in South Africa. This exhibition proved to be very successful as an advocacy campaign as it was a medium that could bring the realities of living conditions to those who would normally never visit a township or slum.
Most of the Shack exhibitions were held at international conferences and parliament where policy and decision makers were gathering to discuss issues related to health and poverty. Its ultimate success occurred in Parliament House Canberra, Australia where it collaborated with the poverty alleviation group RESULTS and succeeded in convincing the Australian government to drop the $75 million debt owed to Australia by Indonesia on condition that $37.5 million was spent on public health through the Global Fund to Stop TB, HIV and Malaria.
The Shack won the support of his Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu and was also visited by Deputy President of South Africa Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; Executive Director of UNAIDS Dr Peter Poit; and Dr Hiroshi Nakajima – Director General of World Health Organization
Debt to health swap in Austrailia video
Due to customs issues in Mexico after the World AIDS Conference 2008 the Shack had to be destroyed. Fortunately it had gathered sufficient interest by then to keep the concept and message alive. This lives on in Nuestra Casa or ‘Our Home’. This home designed from low income living conditions found along the USA and Mexico border uses materials from locations where documentation took place. Its walls are covered with imagery, stories and memorabilia that speak of the border region with particular attention to tuberculosis and access to health care. Contributing factors such as migration, drug addiction, stigma, prostitution, poverty and working conditions are also covered. To balance the image of the region it also reflects the beauty of culture, tradition and lifestyle found here as well as the resilience of communities to pull together during difficult times.
The final stage of the exhibition ‘Caminero del Espiranza’ (Passage of Hope) includes a series of posters made by Photovoice participants. These pictures and stories depict the life of those affected by TB and how they have overcome TB. Each poster is also accompanied by a way in which the viewer can assist in stopping TB.
Nuestra Casa was developed into a research and social mobilization campaign in El Paso Texas that was exhibited through out 2011. This can be viewed at: http://www.nuestracasainitiative.net/