08-01-2006 16:39

A man came to the "Up-Close" studio with his Starfish Story. Different from other shows, this time we started with an encouraging tale, a proud red ribbon, and a pure heart.

He was born in Hong Kong, received a master's degree from Harvard University, and worked at a famous financial institute on Wall Street. If he did not get the chance to meet the children who have been impacted by AIDS in central China, today, he may be an icon in the business arena. Instead, he is standing on the forefront in the fight against AIDS, and dedicating his life to AIDS orphans on the Chinese mainland. He is Chung To (Du Cong), founder of an organization engaged in AIDS work, and better known as "Uncle Du" by AIDS orphans in China.

For half of each year, Chung visits each AIDS infected area, and for the other half, he travels around the world to collect donations. So far, Chung and his staff have helped over 3,000 AIDS orphans return to school. They also provide care to people living with HIV/AIDS and their children, including emotional and social support, vocational training, home visits, nutritional and material assistance, direct observation therapy and more.

Holding a special book in his hands, Chung introduced the Memory Book Project to the audience. The project helps children affected or orphaned by AIDS in Central China make their own memory books of their parents, helping each children emotionally deal with grief, loss, stigma, loss of identity, sense of alienation and other hardships. The goal is to help the children eventually exert positive influence on their communities.

HIV and AIDS remains one of the greatest health, social and economic challenges in the world, killing about 8,000 people a day. It is considered one of the world's three diseases that need to be under pivotal control.

In this episode of "Up Close", we talked about the current situation of AIDS both in China and the rest of the world. Although it is a serious topic, the program hopes to provide a perspective of hope. As each individual in the studio folded a paper star for the AIDS orphans, one could see them develop a gleam of hope in their eyes. By watching this episode, we hope you will find one too.

— Written by Zhang Yao