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.
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