Every monthly donation helps provide care to more HIV kids like Pinki
Pinki was born HIV+ for no fault of hers! In view of her delicate health, Snehalaya's Snehasha deputed a full-time caregiver to nurture Pinky. She nursed the baby with extraordinary motherly love for this deprived infected child at death's doors, assuring her future as a normal child, without any discrimination.
Pinky's physical, mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs are taken care of free-of-cost. She is in very good health now, very cheerful and loves to meet visitors. Pinki has flowered and bloomed from infancy to childhood.She speaks boldly with all visitors. Snehasha has also taken the responsibility for her education.
A little support and love is all that kids like Pinki need to grow up into confident and self-reliant adults.
By donating to this program
You will be sponsoring the benefits for different beneficiaries every month
What the beneficiary gets
The children of Sneha Asha are HIV positive orphans and some are semi-orphans mostly with mothers who are sex-workers. While a majority of the children are from Maharashtra, Sneha Asha's doors are always open to needy children from all over the country.
The children are well looked after and provided free food, clothing, shelter, medications, toiletries education, and extra-curricular activities facilities to ensure that they grow up in a normal environment. The children are social pariahs with nowhere to turn to for help, hope and for life itself. Snehasha is dedicated to such deprived people especially from the low-income group, regardless of their caste, creed, religion, language, region, sex, age.
In Snehasha, these children flourish and mature into a responsible citizens in spite of being orphaned or born in social stigma conditions. Donate to this program to support HIV+ children a childhood they deserve.
23 May, 2022
Activities and work undertaken in the last 5-6 months
Unsurprisingly, our focus for the past six months has been how to manage and contain COVID within our shelter home. We have been using the opportunity of having our children at home to bring different activities to them. This includes our vocational training center where our children receive skill-based education in cosmetics and beauty, welding, plumbing, carpentry, bicycle and motorbike repair. Open to all children living in our Rehab Center, it is giving them hands-on experience in mastering machinery used in cutting, carving, painting and finishing objects made of wood and similar materials. Our children are developing practical and technical skills that will provide them career opportunities in industries where demand outweighs supply. Using tools of the trades has tapped into the creativity of our children and boosted their confidence in achieving something tangible and useful.
Challenges faced and next steps
With COVID restrictions still affecting school and colleges openings over the past year our focus has been on keeping our children safe and active. We are pleased to report that all of our over 15s have been vaccinated and we have managed to keep COVID at bay with no cases among our children in this reporting period. Our biggest challenge remains how to entertain over 200 children spread over two campuses? Festivals such as Ganesh Chathurti, Diwali, Children’s Day and Christmas have gone a long way towards keeping them entertained and besides the traditional rituals, we have introduced new competitions and activities to extend the celebrations. With schools open again our children are gearing up for their exams and we are providing additional study support to hopefully repeat our 100% pass rate from last year, please join us in wishing them luck! Once they have completed their exams we will be securing them work experience to help them really understand their chosen career paths to ensure they are making the right choices for their futures.
Stories from the ground
We are happy to share with you all the fantastic news about our student of the past 13 years, Sakshi. A bright and sharp girl, she initially started singing to pass the time. But as she grew older, our caregivers realised that she had a special talent. All the encouragement and persuasion has recently paid off when Sakshi became the runner-up of the prestigious, ‘Secret Superstar’ competition in Pune. Sakshi was one of the 50 shortlisted, from over 150 competitors in the preliminary round, chosen to perform two songs in Pune.
Sakshi chose the Marathi song, ‘Gorya Gorya Galavari’ originally sung by Yogita Godbole in the film ‘Tuzya Mazya Sansarala ani Kav Hav’ for which she received a standing ovation and huge applause from the audience. Her second song, ‘Zindagi Pyar ka Geet Hai’ originally sung by legendary Lata Ji in ‘Souten’ also received an overwhelming response from the crowd. When the results were announced, Sakshi was overjoyed to be chosen as the runner-up from so many talented participants. Watch this space, we predict big things for Sakshi who is using her prize money to fund extra singing classes.
7 October, 2021
Activities and work undertaken in the last 5-6 months
This March, we were hit with the full force of the second wave of the pandemic and as reported in the media there was a severe lack of hospital beds, oxygen, other medical supplies and treatments and vaccinations in cities. The situation was just as bleak in the rural areas where we operate and for many of the low-income families living here, there had even fewer options available to them.Ahmednagar District, where Snehalaya operates, was one of the worst-hit with no beds, oxygen or medicines available to our largely rural population of nearly 5 million. With up to 4,000 new cases of COVID being reported each day, Ahmednagar was one of the worst affected districts in the entire country. This flood of positive cases rendered the already overburdened medical facilities throughout the district insufficient and we established two COVID care centres to support those hardest hit in many ways, including many of the beneficiaries supported through this project. You can read more about our COVID relief work at www.snehalaya.org/covid2021.Fortunately, the situation has improved and the demand for beds has decreased and we have returned our hospital to the treatment of our beneficiaries and patients living with HIV/AIDS. However, many families and communities have been devastated by the deaths of loved ones, including their main wage earners. Many are also saddled with enormous debts from having to pay inflated prices for medication through the black market on top of hospital bills for those struck down by COVID. The impact of this is huge with families who were already living a hand-to-mouth existence now further crippled with medical and funeral debts. The knock-on effect has seen a dramatic increase in incidences of domestic violence, child marriage and labour and with schools still closed as India braces for a third wave, HIV+ children are even more vulnerable than before. We are currently reaching out to all families who have lost parents and suffering the grief of lost relatives and the strain of financial hardship.
Challenges faced and next steps
Due to lockdown restrictions, all schools and colleges have been closed for most of the last year and with the second wave, school board exams were cancelled. It is now the new academic year, however with little improvement in the situation so schools remain closed. With over 700 million children out of school due to the virus, education has never been so important. We are currently planning how we can get all of our children safely back in their classrooms and helping them to catch up on their work through online classes and educational activities. By continuing our work with them, we have also been able to support their families with food, hygiene, health & financial aid, vastly reducing the impact of the virus in the most vulnerable communities.We are also reaching out to those in our other local communities where children orphaned by COVID are at increased risk from traffickers. Child marriages also continue to rise and to date, our Childline team has saved over 110 child brides – nearly 50% of all rescues in our state! With your support, we will ensure that all of these girls receive the support they need to continue their education when safe to do so.
Stories from the ground
We want to share the story of one of our amazing girls. Harshal is a 16-year-old orphan who came to live at Snehalaya when she was five years old. In January 2020, she started complaining of pain in her leg. We took her to the hospital for examination by a doctor and our worst fears were realized when cancer was found in the bone of her leg and the best option was to amputate to prevent the spread to other parts of her body. We had to share this news with Harshal just as Coronavirus was beginning to take hold in India and also just before her 10 Std exams. She bravely accepted that her leg would have to be removed and said: “I would rather live without a leg than die”. As the rest of the world was forced into lockdown Harshal faced rounds of chemotherapy and finally an amputation. It is a testament to her fighting spirit that just over a week after her surgery, she was standing on her own and today as she awaits a new leg she is joining our other children in dance programs. What is even more incredible is despite the pain and trauma she was going through during her exam period, she was the top-scoring girl in our Snehalaya English Medium School achieving 72%. We are so incredibly proud of her fighting spirit and determination, she has been smiling through the pain since her initial diagnosis and has been so patient over the 18 months it has taken since diagnosis to getting the treatment she so desperately needed. At the start of September, she was finally measured for a prosthetic leg which we hope to have for her soon. We know that children all over the world are struggling to continue their education during the lockdown and although everyone is facing different challenges, we hope that Harshal’s story is an inspiration to them to do their best to persevere with their current situations. We also hope you take comfort that the support you offer is paying off with girls as Harshal focused on their futures despite the hardships they face. Thank you so much for giving your support to all our girls, it does mean the world to them.
23 March, 2021
Corona virus is causing devastation to us all but it is posing a much more dangerous risk for people with lowered immune systems, including PLHA. Since March, we have been working to support them in many different ways, from collecting and delivering the ART medication and emergency healthcare that keeps them alive to distributing financial aid and food and hygiene kits.
Keeping the beneficiaries that live in our shelter homes and communities has been our top priority, maintaining social distancing by keeping our doors closed to outsiders even when the restrictions of India’s lockdown have eased. We have also faced the challenge of securing medical treatment for one of our orphaned teenage girl diagnosed with bone cancer in January (pictured). Thanks to doctors seeing beyond the stigma of her HIV, she recently underwent a leg amputation to remove the cancer and is now feeling much happier and healthier as a result.
All of our children enjoyed a lockdown Diwali and you can also see our Children's Day celebrations in the video below.
Finding love when you are HIV+ can be a challenge. Today is the day when we would invite PLHA to our annual matrimonial meet to find a life partner. This year we had to adapt our program and a few weeks ago prospective brides and grooms met online and we are now planning the weddings of six couples who found their match at our unique wedding ceremony on 15 December.
Every December, we mark World AIDS Week to raise awareness of the rights of PLHA, but for us every day is about breaking down the stigma and empowering PLHA to live their lives to the full. Your support is allowing us to give all our beneficiaries living with HIV/AIDS their own happily ever after.
5 August, 2020
Providing peace and happiness
Providing peace and happiness
Our children love a good celebration and look forward to all of the festivals. This year our Diwali celebrations were supported by our local Lions Club who put on a spectacular fun fair and show with Anjali Gaikwad, our local L'il Champs superstar providing the vocal entertainment. Christmas has become a firm highlight of our year with an annual visit from Father. This year we transformed one of our guest houses into a special grotto for him to greet our children and distribute the gifts they had selected and wrapped for ‘Secret Santa’ gifts to each other on Christmas Eve.Gandhi’s birthday and Republic Day are more serious affairs and were marked by speeches and dramas delivered by our children around the historic days and the importance of non-violence and independence. They are also becoming extremely good at helping create giant rangolis to mark the events and participate with full enthusiasm and patriotism.
Last year, Snehalaya celebrated 30 years of rescuing and empowering women and children. Among the celebrations was a special lunch at a local hotel which the children thoroughly enjoyed. With over half of our children being HIV+, World AIDS Week is a big event on our annual calendar and this year it provided the finale to our birthday celebrations. We asked our children to take part in drawing and essay writing competitions to help break down the stigma associated with the condition. We also re-released some of the films they have made, including Think Positive, a story of a HIV+ baby abandoned by its mother and brought to Snehalaya. The children, some of whom share similar heart-breaking histories, wrote, directed and acted in the film to share their stories and show the world that they should not discriminate against HIV. The film was shown by our supporters around the World on World AIDS Day, 1 December. As part of International Day of the Girl Child on 15 October some of our older girls took part in our Malala girls education program delivering presentations and workshop to girls in local schools to promote equality in education. This is part of an annual schedule of events which our peer mentors, girls aged 13-17 organise and manage to advocate and encourage all girls to complete their full 12 years of education. The start of the year marks final preparations for exam period and all of our children take their education very seriously. This year was the first that children from our onsite English Medium School sat the state 10 std exams and we are excited to hear how they have done in the next few weeks. We also aim to develop their skills and knowledge through extracurricular activities and highlights included exposure visits to a local Kokan experience, a local newspaper and Meherabad, a local pilgrimage site. We are extremely lucky that we don’t always have to leave home to see the world and beyond as experts visit to share their experiences with our children. In November, this included an astronomy mentoring session by a senior astrologer.
Since March, when the headlines started highlighting the devastating impact of Corona virus, we were particularly worried for all of our shelter home children whose immune systems are compromised by living in an institution, but especially for those living with HIV who are extremely vulnerable during pandemics such as this. Fortunately, we were able to take immediate action to protect and educate all of our beneficiaries about the virus and the prevention its spread. As we watched the world lock down and self-isolate we also firmly shut our doors to prevent the virus reaching our children’s shelter. With no-one going out or coming in since the end of March, we are pleased to report there have been no cases of the virus so far. We have also been able to maintain some semblance of normality reducing the stress of on our children and their caregivers by maintaining as much of our regular routine as possible. With the early closure of schools, we initially asked our own school teachers to provide a few hours of classes each day in collaboration with our staff. With the enforced isolation this was no longer possible and the task of entertaining the children has been placed on our caregivers’ shoulders. This includes morning exercise and cleaning routines, classes and scheduled activities twice a day, including creative, educational and physical activities and life skills, bearing in mind social distancing. We are also extremely grateful to volunteers who are conducting online classes for our older children. We have actually been able to have some fun and introduce new activities thanks to more downtime! We celebrated and promoted girls’ education on Malala Day with a full day of activities. We have also introduced new activities such as Lego and table tennis (three of our former beneficiaries are professional coaches who have returned home for lock down) and have been organising fashion shows, dance competitions and so much more...
Thank you so much for your support during these challenging times, it’s thanks to you that our children remain happy, healthy and educated.
19 November, 2019
The happiness amidst hardships
The happiness amidst hardships
22 July, 2019
We enjoyed a great start to the year with our Republic Day celebration with all beneficiaries and staff. In February volunteers from China celebrated Chinese New Year with us by helping us make dumplings which we ate with chopsticks.
Our 10th and 12th standard students faced their SSC and HSC exams and we have everything crossed for their success and are currently coaching them on their further education and career options. Around 10 of our girls are now Malala peer mentors advocating for equality in education and helped plan and lead a camp to recruit 9th standard girls from local schools to join their peer mentor network.
Story from the field
Disha is 14 and like many of our beneficiaries has been HIV positive since birth. She first came to our Snehalaya Rehabiliatation Center over 10 years ago in 2008 having been left orphaned after her parents had both died from HIV-related illnesses. Here whe receives daily ART medication and treatment from our local government hospital complemented by treatment from our own hospital. She doesn’t let her HIV status get her down and is an enthusiastic student and is doing really well in our Snehalaya English Medium School.
However, her real passion is in performing and she is always the first to volunteer for singing, acting and dancing programs. We are encouraging her in every way and she can often be found singing at our many programs and celebrations in our projects and in public programs representing Snehalaya.
Wishing to nurture her ambitions and talent we have enlisted the help of the father of the Lil Champs winner, Anjali Gaikwad, who runs classes in Ahmednagar. Disha loves attending singing lessons with the maestro and we they are really paying off as her repertoire of songs increase day-by-day. Watch this space she could just be the next singing sensation!
|What is the expected total number of beneficiaries in this program for FY18-19?||130|
|What is the number of beneficiaries/ benefits provided in this program, Year-To-Date||145|
|Village/City/State where project is located||Ahmednagar|
|Total Budget for the project for FY18-19||5500000|
|Total Expenses for the project YTD||5519610|
23 May, 2019
Ganpati Festival is a big deal at Maharashtra, especially in Snehalaya with our beneficiaries throwing themselves into rangoli, fancy dress, cooking and art competitions. The children working in our vocational Earth Studio were busy ahead of the festival making Ganesh idols that proved so popular they sold out immediately. All of our children gathered at sunset each day of the ten-day festival as aarti was performed. The celebrations culminated in dancing followed by a fond farewell and the ritual submersion of the elephant god.
In August, 4 UK teachers visited our English medium school to share their experience and knowledge with our teaching staff. They then generously fundraised to allow four of our teachers to visit them in the UK to see how they are put into practice. This has already resulted in improved classroom management and academic performance.
Our talented children swept the board in several categories at a local talent competition winning Rs 11,000 in cash. We are always impressed by their confidence on the stage so weren’t surprised when they took first prizes for dance, speeches, singing and drama.
Story from the field
One of the girls taking part in our dance competitions, including the one above, is Sunita who is 11 years old and loves to sing and dance. Born with HIV, by the time she was three, both her parents failing to take their own HIV medication properly, had expired from the disease leaving her orphaned. Without the expertise or support to care for her, her maternal aunt brought her to Snehalaya where she knew she would be well cared for and given the essential medication to ensure she remained healthy.
Living in a dormitory with 20 other girls also living with HIV, Sunita is popular and always participates in all the extra-curricular activities we offer. She has a beautiful voice and enjoys singing all genres from classical to pop and often opens our cultural programs with an opening welcome duet with her friend Prakshi, they both sing beautifully and with great confidence. She will not allow her HIV status to stop her and takes her studies seriously and hopes to become a police officer in the future she knows she will have as long as she maintains a healthy diet and continues to take her anti-retroviral therapy (ART) medication.
Thank you for ensuring Sunita and all of our girls like her are enjoying a happy and healthy childhood with the dreams and ambitions every child should enjoy.
|What is the number of beneficiaries/ benefits provided in this program, Year-To-Date||125|
|Village/City/State where project is located||Ahmednagar, Maharashtra|
|Total Budget for the project for FY18-19||950000|
|Total Expenses for the project YTD||650000|