Sierra Leone Christmas Carol Concert

  • What: WAYout Christmas Carol Concert
  • When: 19.00, Thursday 17 December
  • Where: St. Giles Church, 60 St. Giles High Street, London WC2H 8LG
  • Tickets: £12. Buy online.

WAYout , an arts-based social charity working in Sierra Leone, is putting on a carol concert as a fundraiser in London on Thursday 17 December at St. Giles Church. The African Gospel Choir will be special guests.

WAYout help young people affected by conflict or from deprived and disadvantaged communities to have access to and take part in music, film and the arts. They provide facilities, resources and training to allow them to explore their feelings, express themselves through creativity and re-engage with education.

All the money raised going to WAYout projects in Sierra Leone, so please buy tickets and help WAYout this Christmas!

It’s worth noting here that Sierra Leone emerged from a decade of civil war in 2002 with the help of British Forces and a large United Nations peacekeeping mission. Since then, DFID is helping the people of Sierra Leone get back on their feet, and is the largest bilateral development partner in Sierra Leone, providing £91million in the last three years. Read more about this here.

Global Leadership Shown on Aids

World Aids Day: A time to remember the lost and for the world to take action to ensure a preventable disease ravaging many developing countries doesn’t blight future generations.

I started working on HIV and Aids with the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in South Africa in 2005. The country was in the midst of a health disaster – rates of new infections were soaring, treatment wasn’t reaching those in need and the South African government had taken dangerous steps by entertaining denialists and publicly recommending garlic and olive oil in place of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs).

World Aids Day in 2005 went by in a flurry, with Zackie Achmat – TAC’s then Chairperson and a founding member– declaring staff to continue working on as usual as ‘every day is World Aids Day here’.  There was much to do, and Zackie’s drive helped to push forward a major treatment material, ‘ARVs In Our Lives’.

Things look very different in 2009. I was buoyed with news reaching me in London of South Africa’s current President, Jacob Zuma, showing real leadership in his country’s fight against HIV and Aids, declaring he’ll take a HIV test and commit to providing all HIV-positive children under a year with anti-retroviral drugs. His words signal an end to denialism and a new start for South Africa.

And so I proudly wore my TAC t-shirt today to Number 10, where Gordon and Sarah Brown attended a special performance from the African Children’s Choir to mark the day. The Prime Minister reiterated his words from his official address and with 5 million people still seeking treatment, he provided words of determination in tackling the fight still ahead.

The UK government is the second biggest bilateral Aids donor, and is looking to secure this position by legally committing to 0.7% spending on international aid. I hope this commitment materialises and call on all to back the campaign to secure this so the UK’s sterling work to ensure HIV and Aids becomes history can continue with force.

Serena O’Sullivan

Gordon Brown’s World AIDS Day message

The African Children’s Choir today made a stop off at Number 10 today to mark World AIDS Day…and were really really cool!! You can hear them by visiting

The event was hosted by Gordon Brown & Glenys Kinnock. Please have a look at the PM’s message for World AIDS Day below.

“Over the last ten years, we have invested nearly three million pounds in targeted domestic prevention work and Britain has some of the best treatment and care services in the world.

“But there is no room for complacency. More than a quarter of people with HIV don’t know they have it because they haven’t been tested. And people living with HIV still often face prejudice.”