Despite the awareness created around the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a deep-rooted stigma continues to cloud most of the population. Such stigmas limit the people affected by the disease from securing equal opportunities or a decent source of living.
In an attempt to rehabilitate the affected individuals and set an example for the rest to follow, a few governmental bodies and departments came together to help them gain financial stability. The Phoenix Nursery at Kadambathur, Tiruvallur, has set the field to welcome a group of 12 women living with HIV/AIDS and provide them with a source of livelihood.
Open For An Inclusive Business
One among the women employed under the scheme, Lakshmi (name changed), said that the nursery would be supplying saplings to customers who often buy them as tokens of a gift for weddings and other events. She said about the new opportunity, "I used to work at an industrial unit, but after my marriage, I had to move on and leave that job. Now, this income will help my family to lead a more comfortable life."
The nursery, with funding of ₹20 lakh, presently has over 2,000 plants and tree saplings supplied directly from the Horticulture Department. Multiple departments, including the Tiruvallur district administration, Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS), the District Rural Development Agency, and the Horticulture Department, have come under the joint initiative to help the group of women earn an income and gain financial stability.
Under their aegis, the women have been trained to identify the plants and make products such as the panchakavya (organic mixture) and cattle feed. They would initially work for a total of 240 days a year and be paid ₹350 per day. Inaugurated on December 1 by the District Collector Alby John Varghese, the nursery is open to welcome customers and nature enthusiasts with a range of herbal plants, vegetable seedlings, and much more.
Ensuring The Right To Livelihood
District Programme Manager, AIDS Prevention and Control Unit, KS Gowrishankar, said that the nursery project is being implemented as a pilot initiative that would be taken ahead to other districts depending on its success. TANSACS aims to ensure a livelihood for those living with HIV/AIDS. To ensure this, the nursery will start taking in orders online and has reached out to people by forming a small self-help group for this purpose.
According to a report by The Hindu, Tiruvallur district has a total of 2,100 persons living with HIV/AIDS, and many among them have benefitted from employment opportunities similar to the nursery project. Hence, the organisers hope to sustain it forward once people start purchasing from them.
Also Read: Over 17 Lakh People Became HIV+ In India In Last 10 Years: RTI Reply