“My name is Niel (name changed), I am 13 and I am HIV positive. My father died of AIDS when I was 4 years old. My mother who is also living with HIV is taking care of me and my sister. By selling vegetables in the evening market my ill mother somehow manages meals for us. And most part of her earning goes in to the medicines".
Niel who is from Singjamei village of west Imphal, Manipur is just one of the million children fighting for life. More than 16 million children are estimated to have lost one or both of their parents because of AIDS. Most of these children orphaned by AIDS live a difficult life without access to basic education and health care. Battling extreme economic suffering they are often exposed to discrimination and harassment.
Children of Jharkhand observed World AIDS Orphans Day on May 7, 2014
To draw attention to and advocate on behalf of millions of children orphaned by AIDS, President and Founder of FXB (François-Xavier Bagnoud) Countess Albina du Boisrouvray, initiated the grassroot campaign, World AIDS Orphans Day. Since 2002 this day is observed every year in different parts of the country. The day aims to raise awareness of the issues that affect children suffering from the affects of AIDS on their families and communities.
FXB India Suraksha supports around 80 children from HIV infected/affected families in east Imphal district of Manipur. Over 850 other vulnerable children are provided with educational support and at least one full meal with nutritional supplements every day through FXB day care centers. Community health care centres provide medical support to the people in despair and pain. The organization has taken a step forward for the single mothers or caretakers of the Orphans by helping them strengthening their economic ability through different programs.
Children from Jaipur begins the day with prayer.
Dr PSKP Raju, General Manager, Medical, FXB India Suraksha says “We believe in helping these children by strengthening the social and economic capacities of their families and communities through, access to health care, nutrition, education, child protection and counseling.” Dr Raju has been extensively working with HIV/AIDS infected and affected families by helping them with the medical support.
Through World AIDS Orphans Day on May 7th, the organisation urges governments to make children a priority in the fight against AIDS. "There is a lot to be done in their support. The least they need is a bit of attention in terms of providing at least a certain percentage of HIV/AIDS funds and resources in support of AIDS orphans and vulnerable children" suggests Mamta Borgoyary, CEO, FXB India Suraksha.
To be vocal about the cause and to generate mass awareness FXB India Suraksha observed this day in Manipur, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Painting competitions, awareness rallies, visits to the orphanages, knowledge dissemination through small get-togethers, and "Take a pledge" signature campaign were some of the highlights of the day.
Women signs the pledge on the occasion of World AIDS Orphans Day in Jaipur
The observance across different states where FXB India Suraksha operates echoed the organizational endeavor to continue to provide help and support to those in suffering and agony.
The battle continues, too often with painful defeats, but sometimes with hopeful victories like Narshima's: “I got myself treated at the right time with the help of FXB India Suraksha and now my family is looking a bride for me so that I get settled and start a fresh", chuckles Narshima, beneficiary from Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
Know more about World AIDS Orphans Day here
Watch the video that showcases the plight of AIDS Orphans, the action to be taken and how FXB India Suraksha is supporting them.