TODAY -

HIV positive children in dire straits
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 12 2012: With most of the projects which provided educational support to children living with HIV calling it a day, and in the absence of any Government policy for their education, children living with HIV have been facing serious difficulties about their schooling.

Nevertheless, 11 children living with HIV in Bishnupur district under miserable conditions are being provided Rs 500 each every month for their education starting from January this year by Bishnupur SP Th Radheshyam, Bishnupur Municipal Council and the Bishnupur Network of Positive People.

All these 11 children have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS.

Out of them, two had given up schooling while one was yet to go to school even after attaining eight years.

Whereas three children are being looked after by their aged grandparents, one is living with his grandmother who is 85 years old and whose hearing capacity and eye-sight have dwindled severely.

In a similar case, another child is living with his 78 year old grandmother.

Imparting standard education to all children and ensuring good health of each and every child is one among the eight millennium development goals set by the United Nations for realisation by 2015 .

Saying that children living HIV should be given the opportunity for education like other children, Thoibi of the Bishnupur Network of Positive People said that providing ART drugs is not enough for children living with HIV.

Like other children, it must be ensured that they can enjoy their rights to education, nutritious food and recreation.

Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, one of the flagship programmes of the Government of India aimed at providing education to each and every children of the country is being implemented in Manipur too.

Not only that, the Right to Education Act is being implemented in the State.

Despite the flagship programme and the Act, the State Government has done very little to ensure that the benefits of the programme and the Act reach the targeted section, Thoibi said.

After seeing the wretched condition of the children living with HIV, Bishnupur Network of Positive People initiated an advocacy campaign seeking education support for the children living with HIV.

As a result of the advocacy campaign, some people came forward to provide education support to 11 children who were living under the most wretched and pitiable conditions.

Starting from January this year, SP Th Radheshyam has been giving Rs 500 to six children every month.

The same amount is being given to two children by the Bishnupur Municipal Council while Bishnupur Network of Positive People is giving Rs 500 to three children every month for their education.

Moreover, a sum of Rs 5000 donated by MLA Prithiviraj and another Rs 3000 donated by one Dhanjoy are being used in providing education support to three children.

Three children who had given up education and nine other children who were daunted by extreme misery in the course of their schooling are once again going to schools.

Saying that whatever support the children are receiving does not come from any Government policy, Thoibi expressed her sense of insecurity in case the support is removed.

Earlier, education support was given to 4242 HIV affected children belonging to six districts of Manipur though Project CHAHA under Global Fund, Round VI .

Out of these children, 875 children are living with HIV.

However, Project CHAHA was terminated in July, 2011 .

Again, education support was given to 840 children under Life Aid Project but the same project came to an end in January this year.

Out of 812 people living with HIV who are enrolled in Bishnupur Network of Positive People, 92 are children, Thoibi added.


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