I am also going to Buds School
With the advancements in HIV care, treatment is available, but beyond treatment there is a need for individual care, especially for children as the impact it causes on them is very severe.
Recently the second support group for children was started at Tiruchengode ART center, Namakkal district. Being a new group, introductory session was conducted, where each one shares their name, class(educational status) and the village they belong . what caught our attention was one girl child in the group who was very thin and puny , introduced her name in a very feeble voice and said she had not been going to school for the last two years. She sounded very dull as all the other peers in her group were attending school.
After the session ,we had a personal interaction with her and her father. In that interaction we found she lives with her widower father living with HIV. Her mother died when she was 8 years old and she has one older brother and sister. Two years before she became very sick of TB and that restricted her from going to school which was 3kms away from her house. As her father was not well informed and could not provide good care, she had a relapse of TB within a year and had to continue treatment for another course of year. Though the treatment is now stopped ,her immunity is very low.
To know more about her, home visit was made by our outreach staff and there it was found she had no friends as she was sick and not in school. Her elder brother is working and her elder sister good in studies goes to her aunt's house to do her daily lessons and returns home only after 8 pm as they do not have electricity in their house. So she is only one at home every day until 8 pm .
When she was told about the Buds vocational school, where she can come and learn the basic computer skills and language lesson ,she showed great interest to attend. Though ,there is still a difficulty in her coming to the center ,the motivation of attending school is deep within her and that she had shared with her older sister that "I am also going to Buds school", when she asked her for the school bag which was gifted at the support group.
In order to keep the motivation, close follow-up is maintained by the team at Buds with few drawing materials and colours given to her .The story books from the Buds Library has been shared and school kits-Bag and note books have been given to her. Now currently she is on ART treatment which she has become more regular after the home visit. Her current CD4 cells (immunity power cells) is only 75 (normal ranges from 500-1000cells).
This girl has been encouraged to make a responsible choice on her health with individual focused follow-up. This has been possible with the support of the Tiruchengode ART center for showing great interest in the welfare of the children accessing ART center and open the space for children support groups.
Buds Vocational Open School, is open for children who have been dropped out from school, or failed in normal streams; the objective is to equip them with practical day to day skills and knowledge that would keep enable them towards an empowered life along with their peers. We encourage these children to continue studies and write public exams in private mode.