The hushed silence about HIV and AIDS in rural India is deafening. HIV infected people even today, are subjected to intense stigma and discrimination. Violent attacks on the infected are not uncommon. They are abandoned by their loved ones and shunned by the village community. They suffer refusal of treatment in health centers and are even denied their last rites. As to the travails of the children who are infected and affected, the less said the better.
In 2008, Faith Home for Children Overcoming HIV and AIDS was initiated in a rented house in Adoni, Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh, India, overcoming several obstacles along the way with the help of a few well wishers and sympathetic local government officials due to the persistent, unflinching and single-minded commitment of the founder, Rev (Dr). R Daniel Premkumar.
RIDING OUT TO ADONI
Praneet Goteti | MTM Grid
“I did not know what to expect as I had never interacted with children with HIV/AIDS. As I settled in after arriving at the Faith Home, I watched the children play and interact with each other and was immediately struck by the fact that they were just like any other children – full of energy, joy and a sense of innocent inquisitiveness. They also supported each other, especially the older children that looked out for the younger ones, they were a family. I was humbled by the way in which they accepted me, involved me in their evening prayer session and made sure that I was well taken care of.
When I spoke with Rev. Premkumar, I truly understood the challenges that these children have already had to face in their lives, from abandonment and social ostracisation to ongoing medical challenges. I also realised that Rev Premkumar has had to walk a difficult path to build the faith home (Watch the Video above) and make it what it is today…a sanctuary for children overcoming HIV and AIDS. Although he has accomplished a lot, there is a lot of work still to be done, from counseling the children as they face emotional challenges to adding basic infrastructure (dining, kitchen and dormitory) that would allow the Faith Home to function more effectively.