June 4, 2013
Jeevadaan was established in the year 2004 with a goal of providing residential care and support to women and children infected with the deadly virus- HIV and those living with the deadlier disease AIDS. Nestled in lush green habitat away from the hustle and bustle of city life in Kinnikambla on the Mangalore-Moodbidri highway is this abode of love and care, a non-profit organization established by the Daughters of St Camillus. At present, Jeevadaan houses a total of 41 residents - 20 women and 21 children.
The main goal is to provide food, clothing and shelter to children and women who are living with HIV or AIDS, especially the ones abandoned by families and rejected by society. Jeevadaan, as the name indicates is striving to give these women and children a new lease on life by empowering them to stand on their feet with respect and dignity.
Effort is made within the means to provide them with nutritious food to boost up their immune system so that they do not fall sick. Most of the children come from families broken by HIV/AIDS and need emotional support to cope with everyday challenges. Those who are tested positive for HIV are on retroviral therapy. Their platelet count has to be checked periodically and accordingly, medication dosage is adjusted. The residents are taken to Wenlock hospital for their blood work-ups and to KMC, Attavar when they have symptoms like fever, diarrhea, asthma, pneumonia and so on. Symptoms of depression are very common among young women tested positive for HIV predominantly due to the reactions of others which necessitates medication and counseling.
Most of the children at Jeevadaan have lost either one or both parents to AIDS. It is heartening to know that the schools in the locality have graciously accepted the children into their campuses because of which these children get an education. Amritha is now 6 years old whose parents died of AIDS. She was adopted by a family in Mangalore. One month after adoption Amritha developed respiratory tract infection and was tested positive for HIV after which her adoptive parents brought her to Jeevadaan and left her there. She is now on ART medication and is going to school.
Kusuma wants to be an engineer and Janet, a doctor. Both are doing exceptionally well in school but the sisters at Jeevadaan do not know how to fulfill their dreams because they do not have the means to give them professional higher education. If philanthropists come forward and sponsor their education, they will be more than willing to stand by them. Rs 15,000 per year is what it takes to educate, feed and clothe a child from the centre until high school. If you would like to help you can sponsor a child by donating Rs 15,000 or sponsor partial expenses-whatever suits your pocketbook. (Either lump sum donation or payment in small installments is acceptable.)
When Laxmi’s husband died of AIDS a few years ago, she too was asked to get tested and thus discovered she has already contracted the virus from her husband. She was literally thrown out of the house along with her three daughters. Jeevadaan welcomed the mother and her three daughters with open arms. Daughters are not positive for HIV and are doing well in studies and Mallika, the eldest who is in 9th standard at present wants to be a doctor.
“HIV for many of these young women is a wedding gift” says Mariella D’Souza, a social work faculty at KMC, Attavar. Janaki’s husband died of AIDS three months after their wedding and when she got tested, she was in for a shock of her life- yes, she tested positive for HIV. The second shock followed when she learnt that she was expecting. Because of the support offered by the sisters at Jeevadaan, she decided to carry the baby to full-term who fortunately does not have HIV.
Maria’s life is not less than a tragedy. She is now 31 years old. One month after her wedding, her husband died of accidental drowning. Her mother in law got her married to her second son who was HIV positive. Only when he fell sick and was hospitalized, did she come to know of his HIV status. Mother-in-law was aware that he was positive but had concealed this fact from Maria. Enraged by what her mother-in-law did to her, she left the husband and her home on the outskirts of Mangalore and went back home but her mother and siblings did not accept her either. So she checked into Jeevadaan with the help her neighbor and is very happy she did.
Maizy, a Catholic resident who is also HIV positive has a 22-year old daughter who is a BCom graduate. Her husband too died of AIDS when the daughter was barely 6. Maizy wants to settle her daughter who is not infected but is finding it hard to find a suitable match. Any open-minded, prospective groom out there can contact the sisters for details.
Sr Catherine who is the director of Jeevadaan is concerned about the future of the residents as the funding from Samasta has stopped and they do not have any other source of funding as of now. If you would like to join hands with the sisters in caring for these young women and children, you can contact them at the address given below:
Kinnikmbla P O
Mangalore - 574 151
For more information call (0824) 2258889 or e-mail Sr Catherine at email@example.com.
All contributions are exempt from taxes under 80 G of Income Tax Act.
(Identities of the residents have been changed to protect their privacy)
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