We have 260 children living in our shelter
Thank you for supporting our project. As we reflect back on our last year there is much to celebrate although it also hasn’t been without its sadness.
We have seen the opening of a new on-site hospital in our children’s shelter specialising in treatment for people living with HIV. Having improved facilities on our beneficiaries’ doorstep has improved our ability to provide medical treatment for our own HIV+ children, saving them visits to other hospitals for routine treatments which in turn has improved their school attendance and results.
We have expanded our vocational training with agriculture and nursing courses which is helping to open more doors for our older children and women living in our rescue shelter when looking for work. Two of our older boys have also become apprentice bakers under the guidance of an artisan baker from Australia who spends his winters in Ahmednagar. Each Friday he fires up his stone-bake oven teaching our boys to produce a range of western-style breads including sourdoughs, baguettes, ciabatta and sweet treats which are sold locally. We are hopeful that once they complete their training their specialised skills will be sought after by bakeries specialising in artisan breads.
We have also embarked on our third campaign with Malala Fund to educate and empower girls to lead the agenda in campaigning for girls’ education and prevent the commercial exploitation of children. Our girls have been enjoying workshops on child and women’s rights, sex education, growing up, gender equality and the importance of girls’ education. We have also been engaging our sex workers, 75% of whom are illiterate, in the campaign to encourage them to make sure they take the opportunity for their full rights to education and avoid the same fate as them. Early next year we will be giving our girls the opportunity to help organise a youth camp to further promote the campaign and meet with education leaders and change-makers.
It’s thanks to you that we are able to offer such a diverse range of support in our ‘Home of Love’ and create a positive place full of happy and energetic children. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that over half of those in our care are living with HIV. Sadly, every now and again we are given a harsh reminder…
Such is tha case of an 11-year-old boy was brought to Snehalaya in August with a range of health problems. His HIV infection had progressed to AIDS, and after numerous tests it became clear he had many of other, unrelated medical issues. The challenges were high and the prognosis was not good. He was made welcome at Snehalaya and our team worked hard to identify his special needs and the extra support they could offer.
When he became seriously ill in October, we made sure he was surrounded by familiar people as he was admitted to the hospital best equipped to help him. Initially his health seemed to improve but eventually an infection got the better of him. When doctors explained that there was no more hope, his care was adjusted to make him as comfortable as possible with the friendly faces of his caregivers holding vigil by his side. Sadly, early one November morning he passed away. We remain grateful for the time we had with him and that we were there to hold his hand in his last moments.
Your support is ensuring that we are always there for all of our beneficiaries and that we can continue to provide a welcoming, healthy, caring and opportunity-filled environment for those living with HIV, rescued from red light areas and saved from other vulnerable situations. We also want to make sure they enjoy life to the full while they are with us. As Christmas approaches we want to celebrate the festive season with our family in traditional style. We have invited Santa to visit on Christmas day and he has asked our children to write to him to tell him what gifts they would like. Please watch our video to see how little they ask for. If you would like to help us fulfil their wishes you can do so by donating to our fundraiser.
On behalf of all the staff and beneficiaries you are helping we would also like to wish you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Our baker boys are learning a unique skill
Our children are excited to see Santa again