Celebrated singer Runa Laila has been made new Saarc Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS for the next two years.
She is the first Bangladeshi to become the goodwill ambassador of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation along with two others from India and Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni handed over the formal letter from the Saarc secretary general to Runa Laila when she called on her at the foreign ministry on Tuesday afternoon.
“I feel honour to be the goodwill ambassador of Saarc for HIV/AIDS. I have long been involved with awareness creating activities of various social issues, including the HIV/AIDS,” she told reporters in her instant reaction.
“From now on I will engage myself vigorously as there is still lack of awareness about this deadly disease in this South Asian region.”
The practice of honorary appointment of Saarc Goodwill Ambassador for HIV and AIDS has been in place since 2008 as part of the work plan for the Saarc regional strategy on HIV/AIDS.
Two other new goodwill ambassadors are leading Bollywood actor Ajay Devgan and Pakistan’s first Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
The Saarc Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS Programme has been initiated to raise awareness and advocate greater support to the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Shabana Azmi, an Indian actress and social activist, and Sanath Teran Jayasuriya, Sri Lankan cricketer, have earlier served as Saarc goodwill ambassadors for HIV and AIDS for the period of 2008-2010.
They make interactions with children and people affected by HIV and AIDS and plea to the public to remove the social stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.
Source: The Daily Star