To be HIV positive is horrifying. All over the world, there are millions that have been diagnosed with this possible precursor to the dreaded AIDS. Some can last for years and not show any symptoms, while others pass away in a matter of months. It’s a disease for which there is no cure.
What does it mean to be HIV positive
Nothing good can come of an HIV positive diagnosis. More so, anyone of any age can be affected through various means. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It harms your immune system by destroying the white blood cells that fight infection. This puts you at risk for serious infections and certain cancers. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is the final stage of infection for an HIV positive person. However not every HIV positive person develops AIDS.
HIV most often spreads through unprotected sex with an infected person. It may also spread by sharing drug needles or through contact with the blood of an infected person. Women can give it to their babies during pregnancy or childbirth.
While symptoms may not appear immediately, one can easily get tested for HIV by undergoing a blood test. As mentioned, there is no cure but there are medications to fight the infection and if taken at the earliest, symptoms don’t show up for many years.
Helping HIV positive people live a more comfortable life
It’s truly sad when you see so many people, adults and little children that have been diagnosed as HIV positive. And while it’s not possible to cure them, the least that can be done is to at least make their lives a little more comfortable. And Street Providence, the NGO with the big heart is trying to do just that.
Street Providence has been doing a lot for the poor people in the Saligao area. From providing them with free food and water, running an ambulance service for them, rehoming and rehabilitating poor and destitute women, running a Scheme bank (please see the link) and even a Foodbank, the NGO has multiple projects running at the same time.
Now it’s the ASHA project’s turn. Donald Fernandes and his wonderful team of volunteers at Street Providence set up the ASHA project for poor kids and families suffering from HIV in Goa, around 9 months ago. The project’s aim is simple. The group collects dry rations (mentioned below along with quantities) to be given to these HIV positive souls. The staples are then distributed to the HIV positive families by another NGO ie Jeevan Jyoti with whom Street Providence has tied up to do this good work. Between Street Providence and Jeevan Jyoti, the rations are handed out at two places in Goa – Nagoa, Bardez, and Vasco.
How you can help
It’s not easy running multiple projects at the same time and Donald mentioned that the collection of these dry rations had slowed down. However, they have decided to restart the project as volunteers at Jeevan Jyoti starting getting requests from these families again.
These are the dry rations required:
Rice – 5kgs, Moong – 1/2 kg, Red Daal – 1kg, Dates – 1/2 kg, Sugar – 2kg, White Jaggery – 1/2kg, Oil – 1 litre
Tetra pack Milk – 10 * 200 ml, Peanuts – 1/4 kg, Chick-peas – 1/4 kg, Wheat flour – 2 kg, Green/white grams – 1/2 kg, Tiger Biscuits – 1/4 kg
While these are the minimum requirements for each item, anyone can give extra as it will not go to waste. Food items can be dropped off at Margao or Porvorim latest by the 28th or 29th of the month so that they may be distributed at the earliest.
Contact them via Facebook or Whatsapp to let them know of your contribution or if you would like to volunteer. Money donations are accepted by NEFT or Cheques only. The Whatsapp number is +91 8380097564.
Have a look at the below-related articles too to know what exactly the NGO does.
One year for the Food Bank for the Poor in Saligao – Update – You may drop extra cooked food in any of the 32 fridges located across Goa. Fridges are installed to drop food, either in food-grade plastic bags or silver foil containers. As it is not possible or feasible for the NGO volunteers to pick up the food, it is requested that you drop the food off, packed as mentioned.
To locate a food fridge in Goa as of today – http://bit.do/foodbankgoa
Donald Fernandes from Street Providence