Reaching the Unreached
 
UK Tel : 01725 514804
Registered Charity No: 1091295
 
 
 
This is Swathi - one of the many children who have suffered from the terrible of AIDS. She was the first child to die from AIDS at RTU.

This is Pothumani, who benefits from the AIDS Home Sponsorship Programme. Read her story in the panel to the right>>>

AIDS Programme
There is a growing epidemic of AIDS in this particular part of India, which often leaves children orphaned, and with nobody to turn to. If they lose their parents to AIDS, sometimes neighbours and even family may reject them.  Currently almost all new admissions to RTU are of children affected by AIDS, and a growing number are HIV+ themselves - at present over 80.  Those in need receive anti-retroviral drug therapy at a nearby hospital, and a specialist doctor regularly visits the Children's Village where they live to give them check-ups.
All these children are accommodated in the newest children's village, Sirumalar, which opened in 2005. They are fully integrated with other children who are not HIV+. The foster mothers at Sirumalar receive training in how best to care for them, as well as in understanding what are the real risks of cross infection (and what are not). The children get extra food to improve their resistance to infection
AIDS Home Sponsorship and other support
A growing number of AIDS-affected families in the villages around RTU receive help through the AIDS Home Sponsorship Programme. When parents are unable to work, they often struggle to support their children.  RTU's payments enable the families to stay together for as long as possible, with the children being properly fed and attending school.  A single person unable to work receives Rs.500/month - about £6.  A family with 2 children and a parent who has become bedridden gets Rs.1500.month, which must be spent on food and other household essentials.
When people discover they are HIV+ many become depressed and suicide is not uncommon.  RTU helps with personal counselling and training: and also co-operates with government initiatives to raise public awareness and understanding about AIDS in local villages and schools. A support group for HIV+ people meets regularly - as well as just providing mutual support there is plenty of advice on how best to maintain good health. And a free meal helps to make this monthly meeting a highlight for many - "a day when we can laugh and forget our troubles".
Jeevan Jyothi AIDS Hospice
RTU works closely with a nearby hospice run by the Presentation Sisters which provides an excellent standard of care for AIDS-sufferers. Children from RTU are referred there if they symptoms become bad, and often - but of course not always - the intensive treatment restores them so that they can return to Sirumalar and go back to school with the others.

"Pothumani is a 35 year-old widow with 3 children.  She had a happy life with her husbandís family until 7 years ago, when they both found they were affected with HIV.  They hid it for some years, but in the end unsuccessfully: her husband died a year ago,  leaving Pothumani and their 3 children.  During his last days their family members came to know that he was suffering from the deadly disease HIV/AIDS.  Because of the stigma, they developed a hatred of her as she brought HIV and misfortune to the family leading to her husband's death.  His unmarried brothers feared that if any bridegroomís family came to know about their brotherís death they might refuse to associate with the family, so the whole family chased Pothumani and the 3 children away by denying her right to the 1 cent of land (approx 40 sq m) which belongs to the family.  She decided to kill her children and commit suicide, but before she did she came to know about the work of Reaching the Unreached and Brother James.  RTU immediately provided her with monthly monetary assistance of Rs.1000.  RTU's family counsellor made visits and counselled the family members. With lot of effort the family agreed to give over her share in the land. She was also provided with a decent house from RTU's Rural Housing Programme.  So the whole family - mother and children - were saved.  Every month she attends our HIV review meeting and is functioning as a message ambassador in her village."

 
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