TODAY -

Fate of CLHIVs in the state of Manipur grim
All educational, nutritional and household supports to die by this year

Source: Hueiyen News Service / Ningombam Pramod

Imphal, November 13 2011: With basically no support whatsoever for the Children's Living with HIV&AIDS (CLHIVs) from the governments side and the little support they get through projects like CRS and CHAHA dying out this year, the fate of CLHIVs whose population have crossed the 2500 mark in the state is grim.

The nutritional support given through CRS have ended in July 2011 and the household and educational support given through CHAHA, an initiative supported by the India HIV/AIDS Alliance and funded by the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria-6 has ended in March this year.

The educational support to CLHIVs from class I to X is done by various NGOs like MNP+, SASO, BOSCO MANGAL and Kripa Foundation under the CHAHA project.

The support is given to around 840 students who are considered to be the neediest.

For a 12 year old girl who lost both her parents to AIDS and she being another victim, struggling her way through, life seems to be in its worst stage.

Sharmila (name changed) is on ART since 2008.Her status was confirmed in 2003, but new little about the change this will bring in the attitude of a conservative society like Manipur.

It was only at the age of 7 that she began going to school in Kakching with the little educational support that MNP+ provided.

Before that she enjoyed no formal schooling as there was no one to look after her except her old grandmother who manages to make both ends meet by selling vegetables.

But the more saddening part is that the support she used to get from MNP+ will be expiring this year and there is fear in her heart that she will not be able to go to school again from next year.

Adding to the sorrow is that her grandmother has told her that her schooling will not be possible from next year on.

Burdened with all these problems at this young age, she also faces the stigma and discrimination of the society.

"My friends mother have told her daughter not to mix with me because I am HIV positive", she said with tears in her eyes.

It was only when her friend told her what her mother said, that she came to know of it.

The more surprising part is that her friend's mother is a nurse in a government hospital.

Sharmila still believes that she will be able to go to school next year as well with the support from MNP+, little did she knew that all supports from all NGOs in the state have expired in the month of July this year.

It is only after MNP+ requested the school authorities to allow her to finish the current session that she is being allowed to attend class.

She is among thousands of young children who suffer stigma and discrimination because they are HIV positive or because they are orphans or both.

Worldwide the number of children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS is estimated to be 16 million (UNAIDS 2010) .

In Manipur there are 2578 HIV positive children till January 2011 (MACS), however an assessment of children who have lost one or both parents is yet to be done.

President of Thoubal Network of Positive People (TNP+) said that NGOs cannot fulfill all the demands of CLHIVs.

Ultimately it is the duty of the government to look after them and come up with specific policies and programmes for their welfare.

But unfortunately, even the existing schemes and programmes of the government for women and children seldom reaches the actual beneficiaries.

If things remain this way, perhaps even worst incidents and cases may turn up.

it is high time the government looks at the prevailing issue with a more positive aspect.


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