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.

Nov 27, 2015

Celebrating childhood on Nov 14 – Children’s Day

On November 14th, 2015 as we commemorated the children's day, Buds of Christ took the opportunity of organising 40 orphan children and 15 care takers together at our center premises. The purpose of the meeting was to help each child enjoy being a child and not be overwhelmed by the thoughts and fears of their orphan status and living conditions.

The day started with active games to make them feel at ease, followed by the understanding of "why children's day is celebrated?"  and the rights of children under CRC. Following the presentation; competitions were organised for children on poem-writing, drawing and oratorical events. For many, participation in competitions and winning prizes have been for the first time. This gathering was unique in helping them understand the rights they enjoy, learn the rights that are denied and celebrating being children with peers orphan children.

Following the competitions, each child was celebrated by sharing the qualities of each child, those noticed by the peers and on the observation of the care-takers. This experience added an excitement, especially for children who have often felt less appreciated of themselves due to their Orphan status.

In the feed-back, the children expressed that they were greatly excited of being celebrated special; especially being showered with flowers (individually). 
Having competitions encouraged many to explore and learn about the topic and also present the same in front of audience. 

For the first timers they expressed “Though there was little stage fear, presenting in front of peers and care-takers and the encouragement they gave instilled hope and courage”