12 October 2008 was a special day for the small village, Mairang, in West Khasi Hills of the District Meghalaya. A mass awareness programme on Drugs and HIV/AIDS was held in the Presbyterian Church field. The extensive cooperation from the Village Education Committee, the Village Elders (locally known as the "Sordars") and the Church Elders (locally known as the "Rangbah Balang") in organizing the programme was a testimony to the efforts of the peer trainers and volunteers.
The enthusiastic participation from parents, students, young people, representatives of local youth clubs and people from neighboring villages turned the event to a community fair. Participants, especially parents, found the sessions to be very useful as they addressed the real issues associated with Drugs and HIV/AIDS.
The peer trainers, Ms. Bidahun and Ms. Parkordor, highlighted the problem of substance abuse in the context of Mairang, thus adding local flavor to the discussion and making it more interesting. Further, they emphasized the need for initiating primary prevention activities through "I decide" campaign in the village. The resource persons, Mr. Ronald Phanwar and Mr. Banjop Kharwanlang of Voluntary Health Association of Meghalaya, gave expert inputs regarding the various types of drugs used in the State, their effects, the problems of drug driven HIV and the 10 key prevention messages. In addition to these, brochures, badges, pockets calendars were also distributed to help people take the cause home and spread the awareness
UNODC and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, have been working through a joint project to raise awareness on Drugs and HIV/AIDS. The project IND/ G86, Empowering communities for prevention of drugs and HIV in India, has been instrumental in organizing awareness and training programs through peer trainers and volunteers in various parts of the country, the above event being an example of the same.