Staff Reporter

Coimbatore: A team of teachers from the United World College of South East Asia, Singapore, visited Sharanalayam, a home that rehabilitates orphaned children, those with HIV/AIDS and disabilities, at Kinathukadavu, recently.

The volunteers interacted with the children, took them for picnics and spent quality time with them.

Service

An organisation dedicated to service, the United World College of South East Asia extends support to the underprivileged, those affected by natural disasters and people affected by HIV/AIDS.

It has 65 projects running across South East Asian countries.

The team included volunteers from Japan, the U.K., the U.S., India, and Singapore.

“We have been undertaking regular service projects for the community around us,” said Cathy Elliott, one of the team members who is from the U.K.

“Interacting with the intellectually disabled and the orphaned, both HIV positive and others, has been a wonderful and meaningful experience,” she added.

The focus of the team’s activities was to spend time with children with HIV/AIDS.

Role of NGOs

“In India, free Anti Retroviral Therapy drugs are provided. That’s very encouraging. Though travelling to a hospital to get them can be a problem in India,” Ms. Elliott said. “Getting people to test for HIV/AIDS is still a huge challenge and the social stigma is also a problem,” she added.

However, Non-Governmental Organisations such as Sharanalayam could provide the funding for infrastructure and medical staff costs, she noted.

Then the field-level volunteers might be able to do the rest. “Sharanalayam is doing a great job given the difficulties,” she said.

Similar visits

“We would like to bring students again to Sharananlayam and also perhaps visit other HIV/AIDS projects,” Ms. Elliott said.

The team would travel to Kochi from Coimbatore for similar activities.

“The children have been very glad to interact with these volunteers and were also excited about the picnics,” said N. Vanitha, Chairperson of Sharanalayam.

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