“I visited Manavya project, Pune, one of the first orphanages for HIV affected children, that was the first time it occurred to me HIV affects children too, having always thought of AIDS as a disease of prostitution and adultery, seeing children as young as 5, being affected, moved me to tears, but, I was able to overcome my initial shock and biases and play games with the kids, we had so much fun, they made me realize they were no different from the rest of us.
There are 57 children in the orphanage, it has a big and colourful dormitory, with individual beds for every child, the orphanage provides them with anti- retroviral drugs, and they have recently started a day care center to treat the children who are sick, because HIV makes them easily vulnerable to all other infections, this enabled them to treat the children there, rather than taking them to the government hospital (which is a few miles away) every time one of them got sick. The most interesting part is each child has a house mother who takes care of them.
I met this small girl, Mayuri, she was shy at first but soon became playful and talkative, her mother wishes she could enroll her in a nearby school for the first standard, but she is frightened that no one will take her.
We should join hands to give care and affection to these children, we should also stand up for their rights.”
Submitted By – Shikha Singh
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