Sahana Charan

Bangalore: Life’s lessons are not learnt easy. But sometimes, individuals rise above their own difficulties and take up new challenges…to teach others a lesson or two.

Coming from entirely different backgrounds but tied by a common thread — HIV/AIDS. And despite all odds, both have decided to live up to the challenge and give back to society.

For Chandrika and Parveen, both HIV positive, who contracted the dreaded disease from their husbands — living with the scourge has been anything but simple — they were discriminated against, had to run from pillar to post to fend for themselves and lived in poverty.

But both decided to do something that not many would think of — adopt a girl child and take good care of her, despite having their own wards.

“People make religious offerings and donations so that their actions can bring them good fortune. But the greatest good one can do is to adopt an orphan child and shower your love on her. Care and shelter homes for destitute children provide basic needs but can’t they give them the love and belonging that a family can,” says Parveen, who is District Network Officer for the Sanjeevani Network of Positive People in Davangere.

Painful discovery

Parveen discovered that she was positive three years ago when her husband was very ill and had to be admitted to a government hospital.

“When I discovered I was positive I was broken but I was glad that my daughter was free from the scourge. Even though I have studied only till 10th standard I thought I should do something on my own and look after my child instead of surrendering myself to the disease,” says Parveen.

She did odd jobs such as selling textbooks before she came in contact with an NGO where she received training and information on HIV.