The Naz Foundation (India) Trust (NI) is a New Delhi based NGO that has been working on the issue of HIV/AIDS since 1994. The Foundation has committed itself to raising awareness on and preventing the spread of HIV. It also provides support to those living with the virus and those affected by it.
NI started as a small initiative for Men who have Sex with Men (MSM). The Executive Director along with a doctor and an outreach worker used to conduct the single outreach at a MSM cruising area in South Delhi. Slowly, NI expanded the outreach to more areas (mostly bus stops, railway Platforms and public parks) with an increase in the number of peer outreach and field workers on the program.
At this time, the legal and social environment was a major obstacle to the implementation of services for the MSM community (in many ways, it still is). Consequently, the need for community building, advocacy, training and research was identified. Gradually, the program grew over the years and now includes a drop-in center, support groups, community and policy level advocacy, training and research.
To address concerns of women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health, the Women’s Sexual Health Program was initiated in 1998 with funding from Mac Arthur & Catherine Foundation (Mac Arthur). The program conducts outreaches at market places, melas (fairs) and workshops on Sex and Sexuality for adolescents in schools and colleges. The focus is to increase awareness levels and health-seeking behavior of women.
It was a big challenge to provide care and support to People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLHA). As a result of fear and stigma attached to HIV, families often refuse to care for them. This called for a need to create an enabling environment in communities. It is important to ensure that families and caregivers are capable of identifying and responding to the needs of PLHA. In this light, NI initiated a Home Based Care Program in 2001.
As a part of its multi sectoral approach to HIV, NI started providing training to agencies working on issues of HIV and sexuality. In 1996, Ford Foundation funded NI for a Training of Trainers (TOT) Program. Apart from the TOT, NI conducts workshops with school and college students, various service providers, health practitioners and local NGOs. NI developed training modules on Sex & Sexuality, Testing & Counseling, Care & Ethics and MSM.
Naz is running a Care Home, which serves as a shelter for orphaned children and women living with HIV. The Care Home aims to provide towards an all round holistic development of the child. An HIV positive child is prone to repeated opportunistic infections (OIs) if not looked after well. The children at the Care Home are under constant medical supervision and are provided good care and nutrition in a positive, loving environment. Emphasis is on providing the best possible education, extra curricular activities, avenues for personality development (such as yoga and outings) and encouraging special aptitudes.
The Naz Care Home
“The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.”
It began with one child in the summer of 2000; it is now a thriving home for 26 children and 5 women all living with HIV. Supported by a committed staff that includes a full-time doctor, two nurses, and six dedicated care workers, these children are blossoming in a way that no one could have imagined when the first child walked through the door.
Care for children living with HIV and AIDS is not something that people like to invest in, instead money flows into prevention activities that often neglect those living with HIV. Additionally, it is estimated that more than a million children have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Those children that have contracted the virus have a right to care; yet institutions that house other orphans are not willing to do this.
This is where the Naz Care Home steps in and accepts children of any age that are living with the virus. We now have children ranging in age from 9 months to 12 years. Our school-age children are all attending regular schools, and excelling in studies, although many of them had never gone to school before arriving at Naz. The children are seen daily by a doctor- minimizing the risks of opportunistic infections and providing supervision for those children on anti-retroviral therapy. Meals are designed with an emphasis on well-balanced nutrition. Beyond this, the children take yoga classes three days a week, and are assisted in their homework and playtime by volunteers from the community.
The Care Home activities are supported through donations, and some children are sponsored by community members, and benefactors from abroad. A full-time coordinator and a care home counselor allow for supervision of the children daily with a focus on each child’s holistic development.
To say that the Naz Care Home is a place for children with nowhere else to go is true. Yet, more than that the Care Home is a place where these children are able to access a full life that places the priority on their health while allowing them live as a child, and not as a patient.
TARSHI (Talking About Reproductive and Sexual Health Issues) is a not-for-profit organization based in New Delhi, India, that works on issues of sexuality and reproductive health. TARSHI believes that all people have the right to sexual wellbeing and to a self-affirming and enjoyable sexuality. TARSHI works towards expanding sexual and reproductive choices in people’s lives in an effort to enable them to enjoy lives of dignity, freedom from fear, infection, and reproductive and sexual health problems. TARSHI works towards achieving this vision through the following:
Provides information, counselling, and referrals on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health issues
Through publications, public events, campaigns and sessions in schools and colleges, raises awareness of sexuality and rights issues
On helpline counselling skills and on sexuality, sexual and reproductive health and rights issues
For more on the above please visit www.tarshi.net
The Sexuality and Rights Institute:
An annual two-week long conceptual course focusing on the interface between sexuality and rights, conducted in collaboration with CREA (Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action). For more please visit www.sexualityinstitute.org
The South and Southeast Asia Resource Centre on Sexuality:
Increases knowledge and scholarship on issues of sexuality and sexual health and sexual well being in the South and Southeast Asia region. For more please visit www.asiasrc.org