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Homearrow News and Events Year 2012 34 HIV positive children enter Chennai school after long struggle

34 HIV positive children enter Chennai school after long struggle

Times Of India
09 Nov 2012
Chennai, India.

Every time eight–year–old Maya sees a visitor, she shows off her new gifts – a white starched shirt, a maroon skirt and a pair of school shoes. "Today was my first day at school, I was a little scared in the beginning, but I made a lot of new friends," she says coyly.

Maya is among 34 residents of a children’s home in Bandikavanur village, about 30 km from Chennai, who stepped into a school for the first time on Wednesday after HIV played havoc in their lives. They are all children of HIV+ve people. While most of them have lost either or both of their parents, 19 of them inherited the virus. The children – 18 girls and 16 boys – were admitted to a primary school in Thiruvallur district under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’s (SSA) ‘Education for all’ scheme.

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For most of these children, the scheme gave them their first shot at leading a "normal" life. "I’ve often stood by the gate of the children’s home and watched school kids in uniforms jostle with one another. I wished I could join them and be their friend, but I wasn’t sure if they would accept me. Today I finally got a chance to be a student," said 10–year–old Mani*, who lost both his parents to HIV.

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