by Judith Crosland, Programmes Manager at Jeevika Trust
What would life be like?
Living in a remote Indian village, few – if any – health services will be available to you. Even if your village is connected to roads, you will need money to catch the occasional bus to take you somewhere near a health centre. If luck is on your side, you may have money and strength enough to catch a bus to a hospital. Here you might wait all day and night and the next day without food to be seen by a doctor. Then you can be given antiretroviral treatment which slows your virus down. You will then need the funds and strength to make your return journey.
Once your HIV/AIDS is confirmed, your co-villagers & family members will no longer want to know you because they believe your condition is contagious. If you worked in the fields, you will no longer have the strength. If you have your own little shop or chai kiosk, your employer or customers will shy away from you and your services. You will be on your own, without support.
Without the tiniest of incomes your condition will impact your family’s existence. There will be even less money for food and your bus fare to continue your antiretroviral treatment. Without your health & your strength, you and your family will suffer and the quality of your lives will diminish even further. Life will become a downward spiral.
Mithra Foundation in Tamil Nadu – which works with Jeevika in Trichy and Cuddalore – assists villagers and their families living with HIV/AIDS. It provides counselling, and supports income-generation activities such as votive candle-making, goat-rearing and a range of crafts including the making of baskets and garlands. These are communal activities which require minimum strength and enable these villagers to generate an income to support their immediate need for increased nutrition and medication as well as contribute to household income. Mithra also works in the wider community to debunk the myths that surround HIV/AIDS. Mithra helps hold families and their community together.
Watch this space for news of Mithra’s latest project in Cuddalore, where villagers living with HIV/AIDS will cultivate their own kitchen gardens and generate income in other quiet and restorative ways…
You can help villagers living with HIV/AIDS. Please donate today!