First of all, a huge thank you to the donors who have supported Punarbal Plus so far; your support is contributing to ensuring that these children get the opportunities they deserve. Also, a huge thank you to Nepal’s Armed Police Forces who have kindly donated food for the children for a year, so that during the initial start-up period the children will still get the proper nutrition they so desperately need with HIV.
Slowly, one by one, children have arrived at the new Punarbal Care and Support Centre in Swoyambhu, Kathmandu from the far western districts of Kailali and Accham. While construction workers are still giving the first and third floor the last finishing touches, seven children have moved into the second floor, and 12 more are coming as soon as the building is ready for it hopefully within two-three weeks. These seven children, six HIV-infected and one HIV-affected, have been merged in with the school’s 65 other students without a problem and are getting bolder by the day. A 10-year-old girl, Januka Pariyar, had a very bad skin infection when she came, but thanks to regular visits to a nearby clinic, her skin is now healing and it even seems that it won’t scar. Shy and scared when she first came, Januka is now outgoing and laughs often, a sound that is filling the air around the Care and Support Centre more and more. All the children have received medical checkups and a doctor comes by once a week to ensure that they are all healthy and that their medicine is administered properly. Dil Kumari and the teachers have all received training on how each child’s medicine should be taken and they are very carefully with it.
The lessons still take place in the old school building, a 15 minutes’ walk from the C&SC, and so every day after school one of the teachers and Caretaker, Dil Kumari walk the children back, picking up bananas and oranges on the way for a nutritious afternoon snack. Then the children have an hour of playtime, followed by doing homework helped by the teacher and Dil Kumari. Supper is served at 6.00 PM, a healthy meal of rice, beans, lentils and a vegetable curry, after which the children go to bed, to be ready for the next day. The students have settled in very well and when The Mountain Fund’s volunteers visited the house on December 15th, the children were all happy and healthy and played energetically with the volunteers.
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