Bringing Hope to HIV Affected Children and Mothers | Ranju Pandey, Nepal
Aarati Home, SETU Nepal, provides housing, care, and education to mothers and children who come from vulnerable backgrounds or are HIV positive.
One of our World Forum Foundation friends, Ranju Pandey, shared this story for the café. Read on to learn of some very inspiring work that’s bringing hope to many. In Ranju’s words:
Binita is a friendly, 12-year-old girl who enjoys playing ‘mother’ to the younger girls at SETU Nepal, a nonprofit organization working for the welfare of HIV affected mothers and children.. Binita was infected with the HIV virus at birth as her mother, Bakunari, is also a carrier. No longer in touch with family and unable to stay in their rural village due to the stigma attached to HIV carriers, both Binita and her mother now reside at Aarati Home, a part of the SETU organization. Bakunari works at home- cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children.
Laxmi and her mother were rescued from a cave in the jungle of Western Nepal when she was just 3 years old. They had been living there for 6 months following the death of the father and family discrimination, which led to a serious mental health condition for Laxmi’s mother. SETU provided shelter and health treatment but unfortunately, the mother died last year. Laxmi is now 9 and luckily has been found to be HIV negative. She is intelligent, motivated and extremely kind and nurturing to the other girls.
Rita is the second eldest girl at SETU. One of seven children, she was the only sibling in her family with HIV. Following the death of her parents, and in fear that she would infect other children, the people of her village collected money together to send her to Kathmandu, where she was found and brought to SETU. Rita is now a bubbly, full-of-life girl, making the most of all opportunities.
Prashna’s mother died when she was very young. Her father had already left them prior to her illness, leaving Prashna’s grandmother to raise her. Unfortunately, due to Prashna’s HIV needs and the grandmother’s financial situation, this was not a long-term solution and so Prashna was brought to SETU to receive shelter, medical treatment and education. Prashna is now 9. She is curious, loving and often described as the ‘class clown’ because of her fun nature.
Bipana is a smiley, fun 9-year-old who adds life to the home with her infectious smile. Bipana’s father recently died and her mother lives elsewhere with her younger sister, who was born safely (and not infected by HIV) with the support of SETU, Nepal.
Suajma, age 4, and her mother moved to SETU following the death of her father and not being accepted by their family due to their HIV. Suajma is a fun-loving, talkative little girl who sees all of the other girls as her sisters. Her mother has taken the role of mother of all of the children at Aarati Home.