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‘Positive’ Move by City Students

Times of India
01 December 2010
By Avanindra Mishra
Jaipur, India

Train HIV Positive Children To take Part In Sports, Painting Competitions
‘Positive’ Move by City Students
Students from various schools stood on the side of the tracks and cheered young athletes, who participated in several sports events held at the Maharani Gayatri Devi (MGD) school grounds. Later, it was only natural for the supporters to embrace the winners, notwithstanding that the young athletes were HIV positive.

Students from eight private schools had volunteered to train and assist nearly 65 HIV+ children during the day –long event held on Tuesday, a day before World AIDS Day. Though they were aware of the reality, this did not stop the volunteers from training these (HIV+) kids in sports events, painting competition and also had lunch together.

"The disease does not spread through skin contact or eating together, and being HIV positive should not be a reason to isolate them," said Shouryaendra, a standard X student of SRN International School.

Most of these children have contracted the infection from their parents. Some have even lost their parents. Despite being between 4 and 14 years old, they are aware of the harsh reality and the social stigma that haunts them.

Volunteers take care of HIV positive children during a sports meet  Volunteers take care of HIV positive children during a sports meet
On ground zero, there was no discrimination. Children mixed freely and the volunteers who came from posh schools had a great time with the affected children, most of whom came from shelter homes. "I am studying hard to secure a better future and this event helped me feel like a part of the society. The programme has also been a process of self–realisation for us," said Saurabh another Class X student who comes from a business family.

There were nearly 90 volunteers from MGD, Mahaveer Public School, Sanskar School, Seedling Modern High School, Step by Step High School, S R N International, St Anselm’s Pink City and Mansarover. The move helped teachers overcome their fears regarding HIV and as the day progressed, the zeal among spectators and volunteers continued to increase. The fourhour extravaganza concluded on a real positive note.

Alert students Minor injury in sports are often ignored by children, however, for Rohan (name changed) it is a matter of caution. Despite being just five, he is aware of being infected with one of the most deadly diseases. A minor scratch caused bleeding from his finger. Trained to report injuries and take care of bleeding, he immediately approached a volunteer. The alert volunteer carefully dressed his wounds.

Events galore
‘Positive’ Move by City Students
The health department and social organisations have organised various events to mark the World AIDS Day on Wednesday. Among those supporting the cause are a large number of college students who have established groups and are concentrating on creating mass awareness to get rid of discrimination.

From poster rallies to poetry, the students are looking for new ways to express their feelings. "One has to know the reality. Myths surrounding it make it more frightful," said Ruchika Tiwari, BA second year student of Rawat College.

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