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Portraits of Commitment

Portraits of commitment
Why people become leaders in the AIDS response

Challenges help us find our true selves. They take us on a journey within the depths of who we are, leaving us at a destination we hope is worthy. Some people find themselves at lesser places.

AIDS is one of those challenges.

The South Asians in this book tell how AIDS has made them a better doctor, researcher, legislator, citizen or person. We know AIDS affects our daily life—but because of it we now have more respect for human rights and individual choice where once there was little or none. AIDS has helped us to see who we want to be.

Photographs by Shahidul Alam. Interviews by Karen Emmons. Commissioned by UNAIDS.

Tuk Tuk in Fort, Colombo

Viewers watching “Portaits of Commitment” at Fort Station in Colombo on the 21st August 2007, as part of ICAAP8. © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld

A story from Sri Lanka on WAD: Positive & Strong Princey Mangalika on HIV/AIDS

Reviews: IPS. Daily Mirror


Shilpa Shetty. Actress, Big Brother Winner. Mumbai India. “Being a celebrity has advantages – people hear you. I thought I should make use of this position and speak out.” © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld


Tahir Baig Barlas. Corporate Manager. Karachi Pakistan. “We have the opportunity to do something now before it’s too late. Let’s not be reactive.” © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld


Sabina “Putul” Yeasmin, Daughter of a sex worker. Tangail Bangladesh. “I gave wrong information to make others afraid, as I had been. I had to go back and give correct information.” © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld


Sapana Pradham-Malla. Advocate. Kathmandu Nepal. “I can’t turn away.” © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld


Sally Hulugalle. Community Worker. Colombo Sri Lanka. “I want a better deal for those who are voiceless.” © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld


Rev. Alex Vadakumthala. Priest. New Delhi India. “The church finds its meaning when it responds to the challenges of the times.” © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld


Rajiv Kafle. Former Drug User. Kathmandu Nepal. “I saw a need and an opportunity where I could step up and really make a difference.” © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld


Noor jehan Penazai. Partliamentarian. Islamabad Pakistan. “These politicians have to realise it’s a very serious disease and we have to talk about it.” © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld


Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama. Doctor. Colombo Sri Lanka. “I had to do something for the patients …they needed a place to go, to be consoled and, if dying, to die with dignity.” © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld


Arif Jafar and Anis Fatima, MSM and mother. Lucknow India. “I am grateful to Allah he gave such a son to me.” © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld


Habiba Akter. Dhaka Bangladesh. Positive Counsellor.
“I have no choice. If I don’t do it no one will.” © Shahidul Alam/Drik/MajorityWorld

An exhibition supporting the book opens at the Barefoot Gallery, in Colombo at 7:00 pm on the 18th August. 704 Galle Rd. Colombo 3.

August 15, 2007 - Posted by | Sites of Drik and Pathshala photographers


  1. hello alam bhai,

    i LOVE the portrait of shilpa shetty. so pensive and refective and beautiful minus the glamour quotient – it makes one look twice. is it the same shilpa of bollywood?

    i also like the other pictures very much. the special girl from tangail inspired me a lot. she will remain in mind for a long time for sure.

    keep it up!

    Comment by sanjida | August 15, 2007 | Reply

  2. […] get infected with HIV/AIDS,” was Princey Mangalika’s clear message at the mobile and gallery “Portraits of Commitment” exhibition held in Sri Lanka August […]

    Pingback by Positive & Strong Princey Mangalika on HIV/AIDS « Chuls Bits & Pics | December 1, 2007 | Reply

  3. Great pics… poignant and telling.
    Sridhar Rangayan

    Comment by Sridhar Rangayan | December 2, 2007 | Reply

  4. Check out the film ’68 Pages’on HIV/AIDS – a searing portrayal of 5 HIV+ people linked by a counselor’s diary.
    Link to the site:
    Trailer on YouTube:

    Comment by Shankar | December 30, 2007 | Reply

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