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Karuna: Musical Concert at HITEX with Lucky Ali, Hyderabad

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Hyderabad music lovers were elated when the top music artistes rocked the city with their fabulous performance. They belted out popular numbers from their albums which was greeted by the audience with cheers and whistles.

At a time when many think AIDS is no longer a serious problem in India and the world, top music artistes have come together for a mega-concert to dispel this complacency and draw attention to a long-neglected population: Children living with or otherwise affected by and vulnerable to HIV. "Karma: A Time for Heroes", has brought together renowned singers Neeraj Shridhar, Usha Uthup and Lucky Ali, as well as the popular band Indian Ocean, all of them beloved by audiences nationwide,, at Hyderabad's Hitex Grounds before a crowd expected to number in the thousands. Post-tax proceeds will go towards supporting the health, nutrition and education needs of children challenged by HIV, routed through community-based organizations in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu that were created under the umbrella of the Avahan HIV programme.

The event is being supported by Heroes Project, the behaviour change communication and advocacy NGO founded over a decade ago by Parmeshwar Godrej and Richard Gere, along with several Avahan partners including Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (FILFPPT), India HIV/AIDS Alliance, Family Health International (FHI360), Pathfinder International, Project Orchid, Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KIWI) and Tamilnadu Aids Initiative (TM)

"With current programmes under international donors coming to an end or being transitioned to the government, many communities and populations, including vulnerable children, will be challenged to achieve and maintain the necessary levels of funding and sustainability to ensure their survival and long term well-being", noted Roy Wadia, Executive Director of Heroes Project. "This is especially true during this transition phase, when the landscape is shifting significantly as communities attempt to adjust to the new realities.

With Karuna: A Time for Heroes, we're seeking to raise awareness among the wider public and the media, to help ensure that these children and these communities are provided the empathy and support they need now and in the future."

Hosted by Bollywood's Dia Mirza, the star-studded event was also supported by superstars Nagarpma and his wife Amala, both of whom have championed the cause of HIV awareness, prevention and care for over a decade, among the most dedicated of the societal leaders Heroes Project has worked with. Their presence was complemented by a host of other snow-biz personalities, which made the evening more excitement and of entertainment rarely seen in Hyderabad.

"We would like to call out to the people of Hyderabad to come out in large numbers for the Karuna concert, and support this very human cause," said Nagarjuna. "Andhra Pradesh has long been considered a high HIV prevalence state, with significant pockets of infection including among children in vulnerable environments. We as responsible and caring citizens must continue to work together to tackle this challenge, otherwise the gains that are being made could quickly erode."

Headquartered in Mumbai and with staff in Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, Heroes Project works on issues ranging from HIV stigma and discrimin,ation to maternal and child health. Its two-pronged approach includes recruiting societal leaders across the spectrum as brand ambassadors for the cause, and partnering with national and regional media to impart messaging via the platform of "education entertainment". Learn more about Heroes Project's groundbreaking work at www.heroesprojectindia.org
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