Join us in welcoming Malati, a nine year-old girl from the rural Bhojpur District of Nepal who is the newest addition to the Punarbal Plus family. Malati lost her parents in March and September of 2010 to HIV. She also recently lost her brother to the virus inherited from his parents. Her father was infected with HIV and transferred it to Malati’s mother who then gave it to her children at birth.
Malati remembers, “My parents often got sick. I don’t know why.” When the sickness became severe, Malati’s parents went for a check up and came to know about their infection. They didn’t disclose their status to anyone fearing the harsh social stigma related to the disease. They kept the illness to themselves and died soon after.
After her parent’s death, life has been tough for Malati. Though cared for by her cousins, she is treated differently from other children her age. She gets sick every week. Her room, food, clothes and plates are kept separate. She shows visible symptoms of the disease like rashes, eye infections and sores on her mouth. As a result, her friends and relatives are afraid to come close to her because they are afraid they might also get infected. Until recently, she studied in a village school but had to leave because of her poor health.
With the help of Dr. Narendra Jha of the Head District Health Office in Nepal, Malati was sent to the ART (Anti-Retroviral Therapy) Centre Dharan, an organization providing medical treatment for victims of retroviruses, primarily HIV. If proven to have HIV, Malati will receive free treatment and a small living stipend every month. Malati’s medical tests are currently in process.
In the meantime, she has been taken in by the Punarbal Plus HIV School. Here, she is undergoing HIV-related medical treatment in a major hospital of Nepal. She has also started taking ARV's (antiretroviral drugs). We have enrolled her in our school and Malati is very excited to be treated as a normal child who studies, eats and plays together with other children who share her age and her story.
There are many people in the Nepali society whose share Malati’s story. Like Malati’s cousins, thousands of families are impoverished and illiterate, and don’t have the resources and awareness to take care of the HIV infected children in their family.
Thank you for helping us make a tremendous difference in Malati's life. Continue your support of the only school in Nepal serving HIV affected children and secure a brighter future for thousands of children who share Malati's story.
From your friends at the Punarbal Plus HIV School,
We at the Punarbal Plus HIV School continue to provide vital education for Nepal's HIV affected children and we thank you for your terrific support thus far! We wanted to let you know about an incredible opportunity to raise funds and friends for our school and Support Center in Kathmandu, Nepal.
From October 12th to October 21st, Global Giving is matching donations at 30%, 40% and 50%! This means that depending on the size of the donation, any project of your choice will receive an additional donation of up to 50% of what you originally pledged.
Think of it this way: if a $50 donation to the Punarbal Plus HIV School purchases school uniforms for 2 children, then the additional $15 matched by Global Giving will help us house 1 more student at our HIV Support Center. That's three more young lives positively affected by our educational and medical services.
The Give More, Get More Campaign is a wonderful opportunity to double the impact of your gift. At the Punarbal Plus HIV School, your dollar goes a long way toward ensuring a brighter, healthier future for children orphaned and affected by HIV/AIDs in Nepal.
Donate before October 21st and help us expand our services to more children in need of medical, emotional and academic support.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Your friends at the Mountain Fund
Since you last heard from us, the Punarbal Plus HIV School in Kathmandu, Nepal, organized a series of successful events, recruited local community partners and welcomed eight orphans into the Punarbal family.
In July, representatives from the Nepali government, local hospitals and the District AIDS Coordination Committee gathered at the Punarbal School to discuss the spread of HIV/AIDS and to coordinate efforts to effectively combat the epidemic. On September 14th, we celebrated Nepal’s Annual Children’s Day with the ambassador of the Universal Access for Children Affected by AIDS in Nepal (UCAAN). We look forward to upcoming visits from the Indian ambassadors to Nepal and Save the Children-Nepal.
Most recently, we’ve partnered with the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Labor and Transport Management and the Vocation and Skill Development Center to provide vocational education for parents of Punarbal students. Through these trade classes, parents will learn marketable skills like candle making and how to work with bamboo and create “mala” flower garlands. Together with the Nepali government, we are investing in the futures of families affected by the AIDS virus.
And because of your continuing support, eight orphans from the far west districts have joined our growing Punarbal family. Unfortunately, their full admission into the school has been delayed because these newcomers are without detailed case studies that will help us connect them with the services they desperately need. In fact, out of the 24 children we house, clothe and feed, only 4 of them have complete case files.
Thank you for supporting the only school for HIV/AIDS affected children in all of Nepal. You have helped us overcome so many challenges already. But there is still more work to do:
Help us hire 2 more caseworkers to compile the medical and social histories of our students so that we can secure their right to life-changing education.
Enjoy the day!
Thanks again to donors who have supported Punarbal Plus and the children who so desperately depend on this organization for care, support and education. I am a recent volunteer from the Mountain Fund and have spent three weeks working at Punarbal Shikshya Sadan and their Care and Support Center. Volunteering here has been a very powerful and eye-opening experience for me in working with children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. I had often been working in the nursery and as a result heard a few stories on how some of these children had come to be at Purnarbal Plus.
One such story is about two brothers named Laxman and Nirpa Dhungana. Laxman and Nirpa Dhungana were born on December 15th, 2005 and July 20th, 2002 to parents Mani Ram and Radika Dhungana in the Achham district of Nepal. Their father, Mani, died of AIDS on December 29th, 2005 at the age of 32 while working as a labourer in India and their mother died of AIDS in Nepal on March 16th, 2007 at the age of twenty-eight. When Laxman and Nirpa were orphaned at the young ages of two and five, their two older brothers were unable to care for the children and no other family member offered support. Their uncle, Padam Dhungana, afraid of the children due to the stigma surrounding HIV infection, brought them through a portion of open border between Nepal and India to the closest Volunteer Counselling and Testing Center (VCT) into India to be tested. His plan if their HIV results returned positive was to abandon Laxman and Nirpa on the streets of India. If the results returned negative, he planned to sell one kidney from each of the boys for profit. During the process of HIV testing, their uncle abandoned Laxman and Nirpa on the side of a highway for 3 days while their uncle, who was living in a communal house for labour workers, dealt with a potential client. Once Laxman and Nirpa tested negative, their uncle made plans to meet with the client that he would sell their kidneys to. In his absence, the boys became aware of what could potentially happen to them and while overwhelmed with fear and anxiety, began to cry. People passing by the children along the highway overheard the crying and questioned the boys as to the problem. Nirpa explained to others his uncle’s plan and the police were called. The police then confirmed the story and arrested their uncle who was given only the jail sentence of one month. Family friends of Laxam and Nirpa’s parents who were also working in India heard of their story and they returned the boys back to the Achham district. However, once back in their village, they were again left without care or support. The Sunaulo Behani Samaj (A Non–Profit Organization), the only active organization in the Acham District working in the field of HIV/AIDS, became aware of the boy’s situation and coordinated with Purnapal Plus to send them to the Punarbal Home/Care & support Center in Kathmandu.
Here, Laxam and Nirpa are receiving counselling and are lovingly provided with care, education, medical and social support in a stigma-free and safe environment thanks to donors like you and the amazing people that work here.
First of all a huge thank you to donors, who have supported Punarbal Plus so far. We thank you for enabling us to help children in need.
While the children attend school and are busy preparing for their exams, life at Punarbal Plus ashram becomes more and more settled. The Nepali academic year runs from April to March and the children are busy revising for their exams in end of March, all of them feeling the benefit of proper nutrition and housing. One of the girls in particular has felt the benefits of getting proper nutrition and not having to help out at a farm anymore:
Ramita Devkota was born in 2002 Nov, at Motipur VDC in Kailali District. She is the eldest among her three brothers and a sister. Though she has 4 siblings none of them are alive; all have died due to AIDS. It was only after the death of the third child that her mother found our that she too is infected with HIV. The grief made her father unable to work or care for the family, since he correctly realized that it was his unsafe sexual life that had led to the family’s tragedy.
The family hoped that Ramita did not have HIV. However, one day, when a spout of chicken pox became complicated, they went to the hospital where they not only discovered that she was indeed infected but also that her CD4 count was at a life-threatening 128 and she was prescribed ARV immediately. She was then taken to Kathmandu for further treatment and asked to stay at Punarbal Plus ashram since she badly wanted to study, and the local school in Kailali had thrown her out when her status became known. After three months at Punarbal Plus her CD4 count has increased to 374 and she has gained three kg. She wishes to become a doctor and is studying hard to achieve this. Punarbal Plus wants to help her and we hope that you also do.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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