Daramsala (March 29): A series of socializing events were organized at Palampur and Nurpur ICTC for eempowering people living with HIV/Aids.
The peer support activities, sharing of experiences where HIV+ meet in a friendly social environment, and motivational lectures by Positive speakers on regularly taking medicine. Also they provided feedback on benefits received under various welfare schemes like free tests and treatment, Speakers shared the message of positive living. Many children shared heart rendering problems faced in day to day life, and renewed their pledge to overcome all challenges.
A special feature of this series was painting competitions on the theme “Mera Sapna”. For children affected by HIV .Affected children include HIV positive as well as negative children of positive parents. The paintings depicted children’s perspectives of the world. Over 25 children participated in the competitions in each of the events. They were given cash prizes for the best paintings which were adjudged by a panel including the positive parents. Priyanka was adjudged first Ritika stood second while Anand was third at Nurpur. In the Palampur event, the painting of Raman Rana was best, whereas that of Vishal was second, while Naresh finished a closed third.
These special children have been receiving financial assistance through NRHM to meet their educational and living requirements. The first impact a diagnosis of HIV infection has on the family is loss of livelihood and household level poverty. Over 327 children are receiving financial assistance directly through banks.
The children sent thank you letters and thank you greetings to the chief minister, also requesting the government to release the assistance timely next year. The assistance is received usually in end of the year by November- December, but we most require it in April – May as the beginning of the academic session to get books and new uniforms, a huge liability for the children’s families. Children often repeatedly enquire with the health department with hope of receiving the money but have to face disappointment when officials tell them to wait, “your money has not come yet”. Some children who have not received the assistance were asked to submit their applications within this week before closure of financial year. Parents also expressed gratitude to the govt. for the assistance given in a client friendly through banks.
GIPA means the Greater Involvement of People with HIV/AIDS, and derives from a principle embedded in the Paris AIDS Summit Declaration of 1994. At this summit, leaders of 42 nations met together to determine how they could effectively respond to the AIDS crisis.
The Declaration, signed by all nations attending the meeting, acknowledged the central role of people living with HIV (positive people) in AIDS education and care, and in the design and implementation of national and international policies and programs, in order to successfully tackle HIV/AIDS. It also acknowledged that, for positive people to take on a greater role in the response, they need increased support.