This year, 9 children at Buds of Christ appeared and all have cleared their 12th exams successfully, despite all challenges and obstacles that they face due to HIV, stigma and poverty.
Out of 9 children who had appeared for 12th standard, 7 children are under the care of widowed mothers living with HIV, one child has lost both parents to HIV. 3 children of widowed mothers have scored more than 1000 marks.
All these mothers have not even completed their 10th standard and belong to very low income status. The children and the mothers have battled the pressures from relatives and well wishers who often force young girls from such families to be married early or even suggest dropping from school and engage in cheap child labour.
For instance in the case of Menaka, 17 years old she has scored 1028/1200 in her 12th this year. She aspires to become an agricultural scientist. She is living with her widowed mother (living with HIV) who has not passed even her 10th standard. Her mother was very keen that Menaka should study further and live life independently.
Menaka’s mother expressed ”I do not want to make the same mistake my parents made. As soon as I attained puberty, I was only 15 years then, they got me married to a lorry driver and in 5 years of marriage he passed away, leaving three of us alone. It was hard for me to get a good job and income, as I had not completed my 10th standard. Later because of my HIV status, I was given a job as a peer counselor in a community based network and while working, I registered myself for studying through Open University and now I am a graduate. I now work as a peer counselor at a Government Institution. I have experienced the value of education and have always encouraged my daughter to study as long as she wants. Though I have faced pressured from relatives to have my daughter married, I have not heeded. I want my daughter to live her dream and will do all my best for her”.
Each of the children at Buds of Christ has an inspiring story of overcoming challenges of life. Nothing is impossible for those who have DREAMS and believe in their dreams. Children at Buds of Christ are examples for that. All that we did at Buds of Christ was to support children like Menaka towards their school education. You too can make a difference in the lives of children by extending your hand of support to us!