1 July, 2012 02:38

Elton John and Queen with Adam Lambert attracted more than 250,000 people for the march against AIDS (photo and video)

Legendary musicians Elton John and the band Queen, along with Adam Lambert, performed a concert in the main square of Kiev on June 30th, 2012. The concert was organized by the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation and dedicated to the fight against AIDS. It attracted more than 150,000 people in the official fan zone of Euro 2012, while it is estimated that more than 250,000 people in total attended on Khreschatyk and neighboring streets. During five hours of live television broadcast, aired on three national television channels, this show was watched by more than 17 million Ukrainian viewers!
Elton John and Queen with Adam Lambert attracted more than 250,000 people for the march against AIDS (photo and video) / Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation
Author: Sergei Chuzavkov | Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation

This most vivid social and cultural event of Euro 2012, which took place the day before the final match, was broadcast live by such channels as TV STB, Ukraine and the First National Channel, as well as by the radio station Radio ROKS Ukraine.

This concert continues in the tradition of stellar events in 2007 and 2008, when Elton John and Queen spoke to Ukrainians during a live broadcast with an appeal from the Independence Square in Kiev and the Freedom Square in Kharkov to protect themselves from HIV transmission. These concerts have changed our national attitude about sexual protection and positively influenced the behavior of many young people.

During the performance these famous musicians spoke about AIDS and sang their best songs for the Ukrainian audience. While selecting songs for this concert they took into account the wishes of Ukrainian music and football fans, who voted for their top 10 favorite songs by Elton John and Queen on the most popular Ukrainian Facebook page of our largest national information resource, Korrespondent.net.

The primary message delivered at the concert was to remind young people about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and how to protect themselves from HIV infection. That evening 150 volunteers distributed on the square 60,000 condoms and 25,000 bracelets with a telephone number for the HIV/AIDS hotline and internet address safeconnection.org. These bracelets were designed and developed in collaboration with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). On-site HIV testing was offered at the Independence Square and taken by 96 people, one test being positive.

For those who could not attend the concert, besides television broadcasting the event featured a Ukraine Twitter site that helped to reach even more young people. During the concert, youth had the opportunity to send “tweets” about the event and any questions or comments about HIV/AIDS. All tweets were broadcasted in real-time on the TV-screens and on the big screen in the fan zone. This project collected 11,000 tweets in only five hours! Twitter was used for the first time in Ukrainian history as a tool to spread the message for the fight against AIDS.

The television channel STB also contributed to the fight against AIDS. The winner of the second season of "X-Factor”, one of the most popular shows on the channel, Victor Romanchenko, sang together with legendary band QUEEN the song “We will rock you”. In addition, on the eve of the concert the channel announced that a new judge of the show "X-Factor", Irina Dubtsova, would write a song that would be dedicated to the fight against AIDS. One of the live broadcasts of the show will also be dedicated to this topic and to the December 1st World AIDS Day.

On the day of the concert entrance to the fan zone of Euro 2012 was free. For the partners of the ANTIAIDS Foundation and for young people who participated in projects dedicated to the fight against AIDS a special section, the PREMIUM ZONE, was designated. These attendees enjoyed the best seats at the show in front of the stage. The first invitation was extended to participants in the creative videos and scripts contest on the topic "Football and safe sex", which was organized by the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation and devoted to EURO 2012. The participants of this competition combined in a their works themes of football and safe sex, informing young people about AIDS and ways of protection from HIV infection. 425 participants from 10 countries took part in the competition.

Collection of charitable donations from VIP guests at the concert started the day before the event and is ongoing. All raised funds will be used for a joint project between the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Thanks to this project thousands of Ukrainian children and adolescents will learn more about HIV/AIDS. A project that aims to explain to children the important facts about AIDS using the rules of football has led to good results in many countries. Now this international experience will be repeated in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Fan Club of Elton John has also contributed financial support to this project. On the eve of the concert fans held the first ever charity party “Lunch around the World Ukraine”. This event has become a tradition in many countries of the world – fans of the singer organize such events in order to raise money for projects of The Elton John AIDS Foundation. The first party was held in the U.S.A. in 2002 on the 55th birthday of the singer and since then it has been held annually. The first Ukrainian lunch brought together more than 100 fans from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Germany, Britain, the United States of America and Argentina. During the party charitable donations were collected and an auction was organized, where items associated with the work of the singer were sold.

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Musicians who take part in the concert have already come to our country with a charitable mission in order to help Ukraine in the fight against AIDS with aspirations of protecting millions of people from HIV/AIDS. Collaboration of famous artists with the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation has an established history.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation and Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation began joint work after Sir Elton John's concert in Kiev in 2007, which was aimed at helping HIV-positive children. The Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation allocated a grant of 2.5 million dollars for a five-year project entitled "Children+". A new initiative was presented to the public by two foundations in 2011, a joint charity project on HIV/AIDS prevention that was aimed at homeless girls and young women who live and work in the street. The Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation provided a grant of $ 450,000 dollars for said project.

A building renovation for HIV-positive children in the Zelenogaysky orphanage (Kharkiv) was one of the results of the Queen + Paul Rodgers charity concert that took place in Kharkov in Liberty Square. The building was repaired by using funds that were collected at the concert by the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation.

Due to non-stop media campaigns of the Foundation, as well as participation of world-stars and projects that help people living with HIV/AIDS (implemented by partner organizations), Ukraine has managed to reduce the rate of new HIV cases by five-fold during last five years.

Collaboration with the Elton John AIDS Foundation

June 16th, 2007 in Kiev, the world famous composer and singer Sir Elton John gave a free charity concert on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, which was broadcast live on the "New Channel". The concert was organized by the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation and its purpose was to bring attention to the fight against AIDS in Ukraine. This concert was enjoyed by nearly 5 million viewers of all ages, with 200,000 people listening to the famous musician on Maidan Nezalezhnosti. The day after the concert, queues began forming for HIV testing, doubling previous totals of people willing to be tested, a phenomenon that persisted until the end of the summer.

The five-year project "Children Plus" began in February 2008. The project is run by the all-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in partnership with the Romanian organization Romanian Angel Appeal. The Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation granted $2,5 million for this project and the Elton John AIDS Foundation raised an additional £ 500,000 from the Big Lottery Fund. Today the project operates in eleven regions of Ukraine: Cherkassy, Kharkov, Odessa, Poltava, Sumy, Nikolaev, Makeyevka, Simferopol, Sevastopol, Chernigov and Donetsk.

Thanks to the efforts of the project 1,442 children (in 2013 the number of these children is predicted to be 1,500) affected by HIV/AIDS stayed with their biological families and were not raised in orphanages. During the project 104 HIV-positive children (in 2013 it is predicted to be 96 children) found new families. Project staff involved with the work disclosed the status of 893 children (in 2013, it is predicted to involve 1000 children). In total 2,675 teachers and educators have been trained on HIV/AIDS (by 2013 3,000 teachers will have been trained). All these efforts have helped to make lives of HIV-positive children in schools and kindergartens more comfortable and the attitude towards them from the teachers and peers more tolerant.

The project for homeless girls and young women vulnerable to HIV infection

On November 9, 2011 in Kiev, the founders of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation presented to journalists their second joint charity project. Its aim is to open to girls and young women vulnerable to HIV infection free access to HIV testing and vital help, whether social, medical or legal. The project is managed by an international charity organization Health Right International with financial support from the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation obligated $450,000 for the project.

In April 2010, the project known as the “Right for health" assistance center was established for girls and young women in difficult life circumstances. It is located in the government structure of Kiev City Center of social services for families, children and youth.

For two years Centre has assisted more than eight hundred young women seeking help. Of those assisted, every fifth woman was infected with HIV or suffering from AIDS.

Collaboration with Queen

A charity concert with Queen + Paul Rodgers dedicated to the fight against AIDS was held on September 12, 2008. It took place in the biggest square of Ukraine and had great success in attracting viewers, international experts have estimated that 350,000 people came to Freedom Square and the surrounding streets! That evening several event attendance records were set. The concert “Life must go on!” became the largest event ever dedicated to the fight against AIDS in our country and one of the most highly attended concert events in the history of Ukraine.

May 25, 2009 in the Zelenogaysky home of the child, the Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation opened newly-renovated housing for HIV-positive children, which was repaired with funds collected at the charity concert of the band Queen + Paul Rodgers in Kharkov. This building had been awaiting capital repairs for more than 30 years. In total, $922,782.99 was expended on the repair.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) (www.ejaf.com) is one of the best known non-governmental organizations in the world that supports innovative educational programs on HIV/AIDS prevention and supports HIV-positive people. Since its founding in 1993, Elton John has provided more than $225 million for the implementation of programs in 55 countries around the world. Now the Foundation manages current projects with a total budget of $ 43 million in 11 countries, providing assistance to more than a million people. The Foundation supports the work of their projects, in particular, by holding special events, marketing projects, collecting voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

The Mercury Phoenix Trust (www.mercuryphoenixtrust.com). Freddie Mercury died of AIDS-related illnesses on November 24th, 1991. Immediately after his death the remaining members of Queen with manager Jim Beauchamp decided to establish an organization in order to raise funds and awareness about AIDS in the memory of Freddie. Together they organized the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness in 1992. At the same time, The Mercury Phoenix Trust was established for the distribution of funds received from the concert and members of the band Queen donated royalties themselves. At present the Mercury Phoenix Trust has provided more than £ 10 million for charitable projects around the world to help in the fight against AIDS. Currently, the foundation concentrates on the problem of improving and raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Queen + Adam Lambert. The band Queen was established 40 years ago in 1968. Since 1973, it has released 16 studio albums, 6 live albums and numerous compilations of their greatest hits. According to Ohmy News, the band has sold over 300 million copies of their albums worldwide, including 32.5 million in the U.S., making the Queen of one of the best-selling bands in the history of music. In December 1991, ten of Queen's albums were included in the top one hundred British albums. Only The Beatles had more top 10 singles in the UK.

In Kiev, the band will perform with Adam Lambert who is an American singer, poet and actor. In May 2009, he became a finalist in the eighth season of the reality show American Idol, and in 2011 he presented a speech with Queen at the MTV Europe Music Awards ceremony.

The ANTIAIDS Foundation (www.antiaids.org) was founded by Elena Pinchuk in 2003 and is the first and the only privately funded anti-AIDS charity in Ukraine. The foundation aims to operate on all levels – from national projects to direct support to individuals affected by the HIV epidemic. The Foundation is known for implementing innovative and interactive projects using web-based technologies.

Over the nine years of its work the Foundation has focused upon HIV/AIDS prevention and provision of assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS. The Foundation also regularly provides assistance to orphanages and hospitals where HIV-positive children live, and receive treatment. The Foundation initiated mobile clinics to help HIV-positive children living in remote regions of Ukraine. The Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation develops and implements social preventive and educational programs aimed at young people. Among them are the projects for homeless girls and young women who are vulnerable to the HIV infection (jointly with Elton John AIDS Foundation). The Foundation also implements innovative interactive projects using web-based technologies: social service maps.in.ua with Google, online auction "Stars for sale" with Korrespondent.net, Fashion AID, and the joint project with the Coca-Cola Foundation – Safe Connection are primary examples.

For detailed information, please, contact Pavel Piminov, Communications Director, Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation: +380 67 466 8736, P.Piminov@antiaids.org.

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