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Khmarnival to raise HIV/Aids awareness

090305_18_1.jpg
090305_18_1.jpg

Photo Supplied

Previous Khmarnival parade in Sihanoukville.

M'LOP Tapang is to hold its annual art parade, Khmarnival, along the streets of Sihanoukville at the weekend to raise awareness of HIV/Aids in Cambodia.

Mlop Tapang, the organisation behind the parade, is an NGO that helps street youth, drug users and orphans who are unable to attend school.

The series of parades, which start tonight, will run for three days and feature seven Khmer-style floats out of which condoms will be distributed to participants and onlookers.

Last year's parade was the fourth consecutive Khmarnival event in Cambodia and attracted a crowd of about 3,000 people over a three-day period, said Vanry Meth, one of the event organisers.

"I want to tell the community not to forget about HIV/Aids. It follows us all the time.... We may see a beautiful girl walking down the street, but hidden behind her could be many skulls," Vanry Meth added.

M'Lop, meaning "to shade" or "to protect", and tapang, the umbrella trees that line the province's beaches, was first established to specifically aid children finding refuge under Sihanoukville's tapang trees.

Today, the main aim of the organization is to bring the region's youth together to teach them vocational skills such as machine repair, tailoring, crafts and electronics.

In addition, M'Lop Tapang urges youth to be smart about HIV/Aids and focuses particularly on those who have had no education.

With a number of new Khmer-themed floats planned for this year's parade, the organisers are expecting an increase in attendance from previous years.

Khmarnival will kick off today with a street parade around Little Market, and live shows starting at 5pm at the Sihanoukville Boys Vocational Centre.

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