Saranya, her husband and their three children lived happily for many years with his family. But when he died, she could no longer hide the secret they had been keeping quiet for the last seven years of his life.

The couple had been diagnosed with AIDS, but didn’t dare tell their relatives. In rural communities in South India, the disease continues to carry a stigma for many – and so it turned out for Saranya.

Unfair treatment

Pothumani, smiling in her blue and white dress and red sariHer husband’s family blamed Saranya for giving AIDS to her husband and believed that her disease was condemning the whole family to misfortune. Fearing that the families of their own potential brides would refuse to associate with them as a result, they threw Saranya and her children out of her home, denying her the 40 square metres of land that was her right.

Struggling with the illness, looking after three young children and now homeless, Saranya was ready to put an end to it all for herself and her children.

Reaching out just in time

Reaching the Unreached arrived in Saranya’s life at the critical moment. An immediate grant of 1,000 rupees was enough to keep them afloat, before our family counsellor started visited Saranya and the children regularly with the advice and support they had never seen from their family.

Saranya was no longer abandoned, and with the help of Reaching the Unreached experts she was able to reclaim her share of the land from her husband’s family. All she needed was a house – and our house-building programme stepped in to provide one.

Giving something back

Their lives were so close to a tragic end, but thanks to support from different programmes provided by Reaching the Unreached, Saranya and her family now live happily in their own secure house on their own land again. Saranya attends our HIV review meeting every month and now helps others by working as a message ambassador in her village.

With your help, we can provide healthcare and practical support to more of the growing number of people with AIDS like Saranya in the rural communities of South India.

Help us provide medical care