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Exclusive school for HIV/AIDS children in India

Mots-Clés / Inde

AFP : Thu Sep 21, 2006 *************

BANGALORE, India (AFP) - A non-profit organisation has set up a school in India for children infected with HIV/AIDS and barred from other institutions, an official said.

"All the seven orphans and children who have only one parent were turned down by other schools," said Jyotish Joseph, director of Karunalayam, the organisation which started the school in Andhra Pradesh state.

"We teach them local and English alphabets, mathematics and also take care of their medical needs," Joseph told AFP. "The idea is to give them a lively and happy atmosphere."

The school in southern Warrangal district, which started operations last week, is being staffed by a HIV/AIDS counsellor, a teacher and a nurse.

Before the school was launched, the children had been accommodated with adults at the 40-bed center run by the organisation with the help of government funds.

"The decision to start a school was taken as we felt that if we put children along with adults there were more chances of abuse. Also it demoralises them," Joseph said. "But the main purpose is to give them education."

"Here the concept is of exclusive care. In some schools HIV-positive kids are pushed around by other children and looked down upon. Others deny them admission. They face no such problems in our school," he said.

Two years ago parents of more than 400 children in India’s most literate state of Kerala threatened to pull their children out of classes if two HIV-positive kids were admitted to a government-funded school.

"In India there is a lack of awareness about HIV/AIDS among teachers and parents. There needs to be more education," Joseph said. "We plan to take in more children maybe 25 initially and open more such schools in other regions."

India outstripped South Africa as the country with the largest number of HIV/AIDS infections last year. India has 5.7 million people living with AIDS against South Africa’s 5.5 million.

VOIR EN LIGNE : AFP via Yahoo News
Publié sur OSI Bouaké le dimanche 1er octobre 2006