Wednesday, 17 April 2013

These children are made to feel that they are not different

By Express News Service - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

16th April 2013 12:01 PM

Children having lunch at ‘Sangamam 2013’, held at Kanakakkunnu on Monday | express

More than 240 children, mostly from economically backward families in the district and affected by HIV/AIDS, had a day out on Monday at Kanakakkunnu Palace. Children infected with HIV or orphaned by HIV were among the participants of ‘Sangamam 2013’, an event organised by ‘Keraleeyam - a Global Kerala Initiative’.

 Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated the valedictory function and distributed financial assistance of Rs 10,000 each to these children. “The Social Justice Department will take up special projects to protect the orphan children and those affected by AIDS,” said Chandy in his address.

 It was a great time for the children as they performed dances and sang songs, enjoying every moment forgetting their illness. Children from various parts of the state joined hands celebrating and proving that they were in no way different from other children in the society.

 “Several children who require home-based care end up in institutions owing to lack of awareness. An increase in awareness about HIV could ensure the need of love and care for these children. And with this, they can hold an equal status among others in the society,” said N R Harikumar, an official with ‘Santhwanam’, a project to support HIV/AIDS affected children under Keraleeyam.

 Personalities holding important positions in the society interacted with the participants, creating awareness and teaching them the message that they had the legal right to life, besides the other rights of children. “Most of the children were unaware what HIV/AIDS is,” he said.

 “Only a fraction of children living with HIV receive life-saving therapies. Without treatment, the children face a short-lived future. Therapies for these children are expensive compared to adults. It is difficult to afford these therapies as far as a financially backward family is concerned. The adult formulas are less expensive, but are not child-friendly,” said Jameela, a parent and Santhwanam coordinator.

 “The programme aims to involve citizens, educational institutions and healthcare sector in the child rights protection campaign. Creating self-confidence is the first step towards ensuring protection of the children. Kids with  HIV/AIDS are often discriminated on account of their health status in the society,” she said.

 The programme was presided over by Keraleeyam  chairman P V Abdul Wahab. Vice-chairman Sarosh Abraham, RP Group of Companies chairman Ravi Pillai, former diplomat T P Sreenivasan and Biju Ramesh were present, among others, at the function.


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