17th of July 2016
If your company has the words ‘designers’ and ‘aids’ in its name, you can’t go without finding the perfect mix between fashion and charity. Which is why you need to check out our online charity store right away!   Designer bags made from half a century old textiles by Hmong tribes in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, new and vintage pieces from Prada, Marni and Balenciaga (to name but a few), handmade scarves embroidered in India, onesies designed by Keri Hilson and even hand stitched leather condom pouches in 3 different colours by Véronique Branquinho for Delvaux (a big hit in Japan); you can find all of that and more in our online store. Besides all of those incredible designer clothes and accessories, you can also find our own collection of DAA tees. All of them are made in collaboration with numerous designers and artists such as Robert Smith from The Cure and Francisco Costa from Calvin Klein. What makes them even more special is the fact that they are made by Fair Trade company Sense Organics. The slogan T-shirts are made of organic cotton, which makes them nice and soft to wear- and good for the environment. Because for DAA, caring doesn't stop at safe sex.   Every cent of the sales goes directly to Designers Against Aids to support our international projects and our awareness campaigns. What's better than shopping incredible clothes and accessories and help raise awareness for HIV/AIDS at the same time? Nothing, right?! Click on the link below to check it out!   http://designersagainstaids.tictail.com/   Do you have any designer pieces yourself that you would like to donate to Designers Against Aids? Don’t hesitate to contact us or simply visit us at the DAA Headquarters in Deurne.
31st of March 2016
Bad news people, my internship has unfortunately come to an end and it’s time for another chapter in my study career.  I can absolutely not believe how fast these 8 weeks went by. On the one hand I feel like I have been here for 5 minutes, figural speaking. On the other hand I feel like I’ve been here for ages since I pretty much feel at home here. Way to many memories and a lot of experiences to all type them out. But I’ve learned so much in my precious time here. My English has improved, my writing skills have improved, I know how to make a good presentations, … It’s true what they say: you can learn so much at school, but you’ll only know how to use that knowledge until you actually try it out. Which is why an internship is the best way to prepare you for the ‘real’ world.At DAA you get a lot of responsibility and various assignments you can work on and you can add assignments yourself if you’d like to do something special. All of my your work is being checked, for example my articles were read through by Ninette and she sent me back the checked version so I could reread them and know what I could do better or where I made a language mistake. I’ve got so many tips that made my writing a lot better! I am going to miss this place, the cats, the smoothies, Ninette and Péke, … but it’s not the end of the world, since I’m definitely coming around to help out DAA with a few things, and to just have a chat over here. Working at DAA is not only doing something good for the world, it also makes you a better person. You get to know yourself, what you are best at and what you can do better. My internship was just amazing! Thank you very much DAA!
29th of March 2016
For the past few years plus size models have been an actual topic in the fashion industry and we have reached a lot already in changing people's attitudes about what makes a beautiful body, which is a good thing. But have you noticed that it’s almost always about female models? I feel like men are being forgotten sometimes when it comes to the insecurity that the fashion industry and role models can trigger in everyone who doesn't have what's considered to be the 'perfect' body.   Until last week, when the first male plus size model was introduced by the famous agency IMG Models. They decided to start a division called ‘Brawn’ for bigger men and they kicked it off with Zach Miko, a handsome guy that could be your neighbour -and someone that a lot of men can relate to.   Everyone should be entitled to wear the fashionable clothes they like, not only people who fit the standard model sizes. Every brand should take this into consideration and make a change, so that every person can wear an outfit that flatters him or her. That's how everything should be for every brand. We have been told what the right way to look like is and what beautiful is for decades, but today it’s more about how what YOU decide is beautiful. Plus size isn’t a trend; it’s the right direction into being positive about everyone’s body, as long as it’s healthy.   Not only women deal with the insecurities that come with body image, men do too. We need to step out of the thought that men can’t have body-image issues and don’t have a desire to feel and look good. They also need be able to relate to models that are realistic and not only models with the standard 6-pack. How is it possible to be happy if the whole fashion industry tries to tell you that you have to change the way you look?  
25th of March 2016
We all know there’s a problem around HIV (read yesterday’s blog) and that discrimination is still a current problem. If you combine those two problems, it gets even bigger. The fact is that there is a lot of gender inequality when it comes to having HIV. And that resolves into the fact that there is just not enough response to the disease.   Certainly women and young girls have a hard time when it comes to preventing HIV and getting infected with the virus. No less than one in five new infections in Africa are among females and it still remains the leading cause of death among African women. They are also three times as likely as men of the same age to be living with HIV. For women who are at a higher risk of violence and discrimination, such as transgender women, sex worker, migrants and women with disabilities, it’s even worse.   Because of the inequality for those women -which also includes traditional practices like female circumcision- they have limited access to health services, education and employment. This leads to even more discrimination and stigma, which makes women extra vulnerable for HIV. It's a vicious circle and therefore a serious problem. If you think about the fact that there are still so many women who have to fight so hard to just get access to health care and education, I feel like the world and society have definitely failed. To help these women, it’s important to tackle all the causes. Making sure that women have a place to go to where they are safe and where they can talk about domestic violence. Making sure that harmful circumcisions are being banned everywhere. Making sure that women have access to decent education and health care.   Even though a lot of organisations are trying to fix all of these problems, there's still so much to do. I’ve never understood why women or people of colour are being treated differently; we are all humans with a brain and heart, what is the difference? So can we please finally stop discriminating each other now?  
24th of March 2016
From my experience I know that it’s not always easy for young people to talk about HIV/AIDS. Even in modern times like these, where talking about sex is not really a taboo anymore, HIV and AIDS are. It’s easy to find information online, but isn’t it always nicer to talk about it with a friend or a family member? I also feel as if a lot of people don’t really know what HIV and AIDS exactly are, how you can get it, what the consequences are, or what measures you need to take if you get infected with the virus. And the fact that not a lot of people directly talk about HIV and AIDS evolves in a lot of myths that go around the world.   HIV is thought of as something that only drug users or people that are sexually very promiscuous get. That is absolutely not true, since you only need one occasion to get infected with the HIV virus. Of course drug abuse and having multiple sexual partners increase the risk of getting infected, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get infected if you don’t take drugs or had/have sex with only one person. Having serial monogamous relationships doesn’t mean you don’t need to get yourself tested each time you start a new one. Another myth that people like to believe is that HIV/AIDS is only a problem for gay men and people of colour. Every person has the chance of getting infected regardless of their skin colour or sexual preference. Not knowing the facts doesn’t mean they're not there. Procrastinating is the worst thing you can do, since in case you're infected you might transfer the virus to more people and you don’t want that, right?Getting tested will make you feel more secure about yourself and might make you more comfortable too when it comes to having fun in bed. Does having HIV mean that you will die soon? No, absolutely not, thanks to treatment you can live to an old age. The drugs that you need to take could have an influence on your heart and kidneys however and can also casue osteopororis and other diseases. But infected HIV people are expected to become approximately 75 years.  That being said, I want to stress the importance of getting tested. It is not hard, it is not far away, you just have to do it. Go see a doctor, or go to a hospital or sexual health clinic and ask for a HIV test.And don’t forget to use a condom at all times to prevent you from HIV as well as STD’s. Like we say at DAA: “Wrap it up before you fuck it up!”
23rd of March 2016
Have you ever thought about the fact that ‘nude’ is actually not nude at all? Well for me it’s easy, I can buy the standard nude and I take it for granted, but I can also imagine not everyone has the same skin colour as me. To say the least! 84% of the world’s population has a skin colour other than the nude we know now. How silly is it that those people can’t find clothes in their own ‘nude’?   Think about all the nude shoes, the nude underwear, nude lipsticks, nude bra’s, nude hosiery, nude nail polish, bandages… and I can just keep on going. How wrong is it that in 2016 we still have that problem? Nude means literally naked, but how is it nude if it doesn’t work for everyone. Men and women of colour are still fighting for their beauty to be recognised and not to be seen as ‘the different ones’.   They shouldn’t go to a specialty store or pay loads of money to get a real nude piece. That is just ridiculous! Björn Borg looked into the problem and came up with an innovative solution. They launched an underwear collection called “the Skin Collection” –that is based on the Fitzpatrick skin scale, which has found six different shades. Now a lot more men and women can find panties that match their skin colour. A big step towards equal rights to everyone with a different skin colour other than the “pale skin’s nude”. I hope Björn Borg’s campaign will be an inspiration for many other brands to introduce a nude collection that is actually corresponds with a person’s skin colour!
21st of March 2016
I read an article about a sequel of Indiana Jones, the famous films about the adventures of Dr. Henry Walton, played by Harrison Ford. Apparently Harrison,who is 73 years old, will play the lead role again. Nothing wrong with that since he is a really good actor, but there’s something else that’s completely wrong: they are now looking for an actress to play next to him and a lot of women have already applied for the role, older as well as younger actresses. And apparently they want to cast a young person, preferably younger than 30.  How is it possible that good, older actors can still play main characters in famous films, but that they always need a young female as their partner, even though in real life they could be father and (grand-) daughter?Don’t get me wrong, love has absolutely no age! But in these kind of films it's because older women (apparently when you're over 30 you're old?!) aren’t as attractive as twenty-something women to the general public. Even though I understand that it’s nicer to look at attractive actors on screen for some people, it’s the double standard that's bothering me. If they treat men the same way it would be less of an issue -at least to me. I agree that there are plenty of attractive women who are also great characters, but since when is Meryl Streep for example not an amazing and beautiful actress?Why is it okay for men to get old and women are written off when they age? And if older women are more likely to be ignored in the film industry than older men, we are obviously going to miss out on some great actresses.  I feel this just emphasizes the fact that a woman’s value is often more based on her looks, whereas men’s values are based on their skills and qualities. To me, that is just wrong and it just proves that women are still not equal to men. 
18th of March 2016
At the headquarters of DAA it's quite impossible feel lonely, since there are no less than five cats. And there's always one that comes around to give me hand in everything I do. If I’m sitting at my desk, he’ll be my cute colleague and sleeps in the other office chair. When we are eating, the cat is spoiling us with its pleasurable company. When I'm unboxing T-shirts, the cat is helping me by getting into the box so that I have no other option than to procrastinate and do the unboxing when the cat has other things to do, like sleeping. When I'm making pictures of clothes, the cat offers itself as a model, all for free. Guess which one I am talking about? It’s the one and only Ziggy from Designers Against Aids.   Even though I love all the cats here, Ziggy is definitely the most social cat in the house. He likes to be petted and stroked on his little cute head, but he doesn’t like you to pick him up like a baby. Which is understandable: he’s all grown up now, he's heavy and he has a bad hip. I'm definitely going to miss the cats when my internship ends. I might secretly take Ziggy with me, but ssst, don’t tell anyone! Oh and while I’m finishing this blog, Ziggy just jumped on the other office chair to professionally help me post the blog online. Oh how I love him!  
17th of March 2016
Today is everyone’s lucky day, ‘cause it is Saint Patrick’s Day!  But what is this day actually all about? Today we celebrate the one and only Saint Patrick -who was actually Italian and not Irish. But since he had been a slave in Ireland, he was familiar with the culture and the language. After the slavery he went back to Ireland to convert the people to Christianity. He was very successful too, since he had a special method: he tried to combine people’s old beliefs with the new ones of Christianity. And during his preaches, he used a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, because a shamrock has three leaves. Since then, the Irish consider a shamrock as a symbol for good luck. Moreover, green is the national colour of Ireland and of the festive day as well. And certainly when worn on St. Patrick’s Day the colour should bring good luck too!  Now you should know that my favourite colour is green, my favourite symbol is a shamrock and I absolutely love Irish accents (I almost went on Erasmus to Ireland instead of England). So yes, I am quite fond of this holiday, even though it is not celebrated in Belgium (unfortunately). I personally like this holiday so much because it is, these days, all about luck. I have always been that kind of person that catches her eyelashes and can’t throw them away without making a wish; the same goes for seeing a shooting star. I do believe that you create your happiness yourself for a big part, but some people just have more luck than others. They have more resources to do things they like and love. For example, I read an article about a gay man who took his own life because his family couldn’t accept him the way he was. He had been living a double life for 13 years and couldn’t deal with it anymore. When he finally told his parents, they advised him to go see a psychiatrist (follow the link below to read the full story). Those are the kind of people that could use a bit more of luck, as they deserve to be as happy as anyone else. Which is why we should bring this under the attention more and tell everyone that being gay is OK. And for the first time, gay and lesbian marchers are participating in today’s St. Patricks parade. Yay, you go guys! Do you feel as lucky as I do? Or could you use a few extra shamrocks?   Article: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/21/my-boyfriend-killed-himself-because-his-family-couldnt-accept-that-he-was-gay
16th of March 2016
After the Oscars it's time for another memorable film festival: the London LGBT Film Festival. It’s the biggest one in Europe and obviously takes place in London. This year it’s a special edition, since it is already the 30thedition of this 10 day long event. Today, the festival will be opened with the world premiere of 'The Pass' of Ben A. Williams. A film that focuses on the lives of two young Premier League footballers and three of their most momentous nights in 10 years times. Over 50 more films and 100 short films will be shown, next to a lot of special guests, workshops, club nights, etc. On March 26 the festival will be closed with the film 'Summertime' by Catherine Corsini about two women who fall in love in the seventies in Paris. The festival will be divided into three sections; Hearts, Minds and Bodies, that will include British film and new British talent, transgender representation and Queer Science and new technology. The latter will be looking more into the future of queer cinema and media. HEARTS will include films about -obviously- love, romance and friendship. BODIES will feature the other side, namely stories about sex, identity and transformations. MINDS will reflect arts, politics and community in which pop artists will also be celebrated.   The London LGbT Film Festival is definitely something that should get a lot more attention, since the film industry is an important way of showing real life scenarios that aren’t marginal or banal. Even though LGBT culture is still thought of as minority, many of the films are  fine pieces of art and have complex and compelling characters.  Furthermore, this could be yet another way for LGBT people to feel better and less insecure about themselves, since many people can often relate to characters from films very well.   Number 1 on my personal film bucket list in this festival? Carol! Since it has been voted the best LGBT film of all time, I absolutely need to see it. The film features Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, two of my favourite actresses, which makes it definitely a must-see for me. Another crazy fact about this film: it got no less then six Oscar nominations and nine Bafta nominations - I guess that says enough, right? Have you seen any LGBT films that you would like to share your opinion about? Please do so, ‘cause I’m certainly a bit of a film freak!
15th of March 2016
While I was browsing a bit on the Internet, I stumbled across the wonderful story of Maud Fernhout, a young Dutch photographer. As she was thinking about writing an essay about gender stereotypes and how to overcome them, she decided that pictures and quotes would be much more powerful. She even decided to launch two projects: “What real men cry like” and “What real women laugh like”.   19-year-old Maud wanted to make sure that the message made people think about how we perceive genders and the roles that stereotypically come with them. Why do we always say that men can’t cry? If they have lachrymal ducts (tear organs) and emotions, aren’t they allowed to cry as much as women do, whenever they want? People always say ‘Be a man’ or ‘Man up’, but what does that even mean? And have you noticed that a lot of women don’t like laughing out loud, showing their teeth? Many women -and men- find it ‘Unladylike’ to have their mouth all-open when they laugh and some even hate their laughs.   Maud made a series of photos to show that this can be done differently and that gender roles shouldn’t be literally lived by. She’s telling everyone -and certainly young people- that it is OK to be whoever you want to be. And if that means you feel like crying, then you should do it. If it means you want to show your teeth and just have fun and laugh, then you should do that too.   I absolutely love this project, since it’s made by a young photographer who shows young people like myself. The best thing about this project is that it just makes you smile the minute you see all those girls laughing and it shows you compassion in the boy’s cases. I love how ‘real’ this campaign is and it makes me happy to see that other young people are fighting gender stereotypes too- just like we do here at Designers against AIDS. ‘Cause let’s admit it, most of these stereotypes seem to date from the Middle Ages.   Check out all the pictures and her website on this link: http://www.maudfernhout.com/
14th of March 2016
As a ‘90’s kid’ I went through a lot of changes. When I was younger I didn’t grow up to have internet until I was 14 years old, I didn’t have my laptop until I was 18 years old and started university. I saw the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Rocket Power. And when that wasn’t on television, I went outside to play with my neighbours and build camps. I didn’t have a phone until I was 13 years old (which is early enough in my opinion) and it was a black and white one that had one game on it: Tetris. How happy I was that I had my own cell phone, even though it was my sister’s old one.  Before I went to university, I didn’t feel a lot of pressure from social media and society, at least not as much as I do now. In the past 20 years so much has changed and so much has been invented. At this point in my life I kind of lost track of it all. I feel like everything is going way to fast and I’m not following at the right tempo at all.   When I was 16, Facebook became popular. I just used it as a communication canal rather then being influenced by certain messages. Nowadays we have Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, … If you are my age, it’s expected to have these kind of social media accounts, at least a few of them. And what if you don’t? Then you are sometimes considered as being ‘out of this world’. Even though I'm pro social media, since it can spread messages to a big group very quickly, I feel like the last two years it has developed way too fast. When I scroll through my Instagram and see pictures of bloggers and models with fabulous outfits, perfect hair, perfect make-up of looking perfectly 'natural', it is easy to think that those people are flawless- at that you are not. It is hard to be as ‘perfect’ as they are, but it is even harder stand up against it and act as if you don’t care.   I can put all of those things in perspective; at least I try to do so. But I wonder what it must be for people who grew up with Facebook and Instagram and who had a smartphone almost right after jumping out of their mummy’s womb. What if they only get to see all those perfect boys and girls that seem to have everything we can only dream of? Would that even make us happy? It’s OK to have flaws, right? Even though I do get insecure sometimes when I look at all those ‘picture perfect people’, I am happy with how I look and even more happy about who I am. Why? Because Photoshop doesn’t exist in the real world, it’s just a virtual thing. I still prefer real life above virtual (sometimes fake) life; I’d rather miss the perfect picture than miss the perfect moment.   Imperfections make us unique -and unique is what we should go for!
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Student blog

Enter the student's territory and follow the days of their lives at DAA's Youth For A Better World Education Center.
On this page the students of the Education Center will tell you everything about their stay at DAA, from the things they learn and the campaigns they create to what they have for breakfast, this blog will be their online diary: an opportunity for them to share their experiences and to give you a sneak peak into the life at DAA, where they learn to use their creativity for the good of society. Enjoy the ride!






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