Children of Krishnagiri
A support program for the children infected and affected by HIV / AIDS
Located in Tamilnadu and about 100 KMs from Bangalore, Krishnagiri is a scenic District surrounded by picturesque mountains. Krishnagiri is a classified ‘A” town for another challenge, HIV infected! There are about 250 children infected and around 4000 Children affected by HIV / AIDS in the district.
When ARCOD identified the need to address and support the nutritional needs of infected children and educational needs of affected children it started exploring for funds. An initial discussion by the Director of ARCOD with the industrialist Mr. K.G. Murali from Bangalore paved way for this project. With his initiative he identified other like-minded people from friends and relatives and floated the idea for support.
10 years back ARCOD decided to make a difference in the lives of these children. ARCOD took 175 children (91 infected and 84 affected) into its fold to provide nutritional support on a monthly basis and started to support Rs. 500/- per child per month. The project was inaugurated on 8th September 2010 by the then District Collector Mr. Arun Roy in Krishnagiri. The amount has been transferred to the joint bank account operated by the child and care taker till February 2015. The entire project is supported by individual sponsorship.
Then we felt the need of extending the support in the form of kind. We are distributing Nutritional Kit which includes food items from March 2015 as this helps ensure the support benefits the children directly. We tried two methods in delivering the Nutrition kits. The children visit the office and collect the kit and some time the staffs visit the children at their home and deliver the kit. .
Celebration of Deepavali
Society’s acceptance is a vital thing which is missing in the lives of these children as a result of discrimination and stigma in the society. We felt that kids had to be motivated and encouraged to participate in cultural events and celebrate festivals. Towards this, ARCOD has been celebrating the Deepavali for the past 9 years with these children and their care providers. The children are entertained through variety of cultural programs by professionals and are given dresses / grand lunch / crackers / sweets / goodies and other special gifts (Wrist watch, mobile phone & School Bag with Solar powered Lamp). The average budget for this event is around Rs. 5 lakhs.
During the course, ARCOD identified a need to set up a facility for “Temporary Shelter” for those children who need temporary care. We identified a rented building at Krishnagiri which could accommodate 12 children at a time. ARCOD is in the process of building a permanent one to admit infected orphan children as we are looking at options to give them institutional care in the long run. A piece of 0.94 acre land was purchased for this purpose near Rayakottai. Construction of building is under progress. Saint Gobain Foundation has sanctioned an amount of Rs. 45 Lakhs for the building.
We moved on to get the medical challenge handled well and have completed a full medical checkup and creation of proper medical records for all the infected children with the support of St. John’s Medical College Hospital, Bangalore. During the process we have got quite a few children admitted and saved many from the jaws of death. We maximum try to take the medical services of the Govt. at the local level and the children who need intensive medical care are treated in the St. John’s Hospital. The drugs for Anti – Retroviral Therapy (ART) is supplied by the state government at free of cost.
From January 2015 we have taken all the 232 infected children in Krishnagiri into our fold. We have extended the Nutrition support to the children in Dharmapuri from January 2017. At present, 300 children are supported through this project. We have a vision of extending the project to the state level in future.
Our motto is ‘Not a single child will be lost to this disease’
We intend to bring in a structured education process to all these children enabling them to get a job.
One Field Coordinator and a Project Manager are working to take care of these activities. The team is visiting the children at their home once in a month. During this visit they interact with the children and parents / care takers and give Nutrition Kits.