Mar 28, 2016

The girls in rural areas are least encouraged towards education, especially in communities that are disadvantaged by caste and economic class. In addition, if the girls are from widow-headed households the opportunities for education are very limited. It is for such families, Buds of Christ is providing education support to orphan girls in rural areas.
Encouraging education among rural girls means empowering widow mothers, realize the need for girl education, support the rural girls with life skills education to cope up with pressures and monetary support for educational materials and uniforms. The needs have been partially met through friends, partners and well-wishers of Buds of Christ.
Over the last three years, Buds of Christ has been able to support orphan girls to continue education in schools and more than 20 girls have moved into higher education. Almost all of these girls are the first generation entry graduates. One such successful case of a rural girl out of the first generation graduates girls is Bharathi.
Bharathi is the second daughter from a disadvantaged family by caste and economic status. Usually in such families, early marriages are encouraged with aged men, but with the strict laws against child marriage and our strong networking with the district child protection unit, these girls are safe-guarded. But girls from such families are not encouraged for higher education. 
Bharathi too faced such pressures, which she did not succumb and supported by her empowered mother. Bharathi's mother is a widow, not educated and managed the family by doing coolie work. When her first daughter was 17 years, she took the decision of getting married, against her mother's wishes, her mother got shattered. Next the pressure from relatives were on Bharathi, who was 15 years then and doing her 10th standard to be married .
But her mother stood firm, and even against their relatives and encouraged to continue education with the support from Buds of Christ. Bharathi successfully completed her 12th standard and now is doing her First year B.Sc Nutrition and Dietetics and has completed her first semester examinations with first class.
We at Buds of Christ would like to our friends for building the lives of young girls like Bharathi to see a better future. If not for your support, they would be in the same community with no opportunities for Growth.

Jan 8, 2016

Involve Affected Adolescents in achieving “Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”

This year the  theme of the World AIDS day was Getting to Zero and we at Buds believe this can happen when the already affected people are also encouraged and motivated to live a positive life.

Buds of Christ commemorated the 2015 world AIDS day in encouraging young adolescents in salem and smaller children in Tiruchengode along with care takers to be confident and live a life with hope and dignity. The uniqueness of this year programme was the young people living with HIV and affected by HIV of Buds of Christ (Buds Leaders) had planned and executed the event.

The programme was conducted on 5th of Dec at Salem and 12th of Dec 2015 at Tiruchengode. In the salem group the 20  participants were mostly  young adolescents in the age group of 14 and above and at Tiruchengode, the 15 smaller children were in the age group of  5 and 12 years old. Both the programmes were organised at government Hospital ART centres. The programme included a choreo, skit, drawing competition, testimonial and a motivational song. The key highlight was the testimonial sharing by the care-taker (woman living with HIV) and her child. Though it brought in a emotional outburst among the participants, the end-result was that it encouraged both the children and the care takers to look at their own lives more positively.

Responses from the participants were;

"Having born with HIV, I thought I was the only one facing lot of struggles and had no interest in life. But today I  felt, yes there are many like me who go through such situations in their lives and yet they are moving on and so hereafter i will be very regular on medications and will look at life more positively"- expressed by 17 year old orphan girl who is now on second line ARV

"I always was living with the fear and sometimes question myself why should I live with this highly stigmatised disease, but today when Selvi akka, mother of an HIV positive son shared her feelings and how in-spite of the struggles she continues to take care of her son living with HIV has inspired me to take care of myself and my child who is living with HIV"- widow mother(care taker) of a 7 year old child living with HIV

"I liked the song", never give-up" (tamil song). It made me feel good"- expressed 6 year old HIV positive boy

"HIV has affected everybody in my family, my husband, my two girls and me. Yet, my husband does not bother and has left us alone to live with another family in another village. After my HIV status, in addition to being a mother, I have been the bread-winner and I had to go for coolie work in the feild to support my daughters. In addition I also constructed our house with the help of my daughters and I even had to become a construction worker. Today, when shalini's mother was sharing, it helped me to realise the strength I have had within me in passing through these challenges. If her mother can bring up her three daughters, I too can bring up my daughters in the best way I can”. - Proud HIV positive mother of her daughter winning the first place in the drawing competition.