After winning accolades for the country on the field, former Test cricketer V.V.S. Laxman on Thursday won the hearts of HIV-affected children by associating himself with an initiative to improve their condition.
The star batsman on Thursday not only launched a campaign, ‘friends forever’, but also interacted with HIV-positive children, trying to know their aims and dreams.
“After meeting HIV-positive children, I realised they are cheerful in spite of their condition. Normal children can learn something from them,” said Mr. Laxman.
The campaign is an initiative by Swagati-HLFPPT, a public health NGO, whose objective is to sensitize schoolchildren about HIV condition, besides raising funds for the education of HIV-positive children.
“I wanted to give something back to society, and through this initiative, awareness will be created among schoolchildren on HIV. HIV-affected kids, too, have dreams like other children like becoming a doctor, engineer or others. We should help them realise that,” he said.
Ms. Matangi, senior programme officer, Avahan, appreciated Laxman for being part of the project. “We tried reaching out to celebrities, but not many are willing to be the face of such campaigns,” she said. The programme will be implemented in two phases including de-stigmatization efforts at various schools. In the second phase, children will be encouraged to raise funds.
K. Dolly, team leader at Swagati, said the prevalence of HIV infection had come down in the State, especially coastal districts, thanks to initiatives taken up by various agencies.