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.
Malati still doesn’t know how her parents died and why she gets sick so often.
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.
Thankfully, with the help of organizations like Punarbal Plus, Malati’s life is changing for the better.
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.
Because of your support, Malati has access to the education, nutrition and emotional support that will save her life.
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,