Posts Tagged 'kids'

snow smile

Posted by on 09 Dec 2009 | Category: japan, photography

You all liked the winter-snow photographs which I had posted in the previous article – but if they seem dull, grim and harsh, here are some to smile on!! From 2006 Winter.

snow sliding at hokkaido university
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Posted by and on 20 Aug 2009 | Category: life

Pratyahara, our baby boy.
Born: 19 Aug 2009, 3:30PM Italian Time [7PM Indian Time] @ the Sant’ Orsola Hospital, University of Bologna, Italy.

Photo as on 19 Aug 2009.

Baby & Mom keeping good!

Pratyahara (pronounced pratya-haara) is a sanskrit word, which essentially means “seeking one’s inner-self” or “return to self”. In yoga, it is the transition between the inner-world and the outer-world (so, balanced 😉 ).

pratyahara smiles
Photo as on 23 Aug 2009.

He smiles a lot while sleeping! The feelings of becoming the parents… are inexpressible!
pratyahara with achan pratyahara with amma

Wanted to share our love and happiness with you all.

Roxy (rocksea) & Juby (sarah)

the violin boy

Posted by on 22 Jul 2009 | Category: italy, photography

This is one of the favorites in our collection of the street musicians in italy. The emotion and the feeling of motion, and the lighting in this image “promptly” moves my heart every time I see it.

A boy playing El Choclo on Violin, before the museum Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, Italy

A boy playing El Choclo on Violin, before the museum Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy, where the statue of Michelangelo’s David is kept. El Choclo is a popular song/tango written by Angel G. Villoldo, an Argentine musician.

Playing Guitars at the bridge on River Arno in Florence, Italy

Playing guitar at the bridge on River Arno in Florence, Italy.

Music on Bottle at Bologna, Italy

We had published a different image of “Music on Bottles” earlier. This time, it is the kids that capture the magic 🙂 @ Bologna, Italy.

hiv, aids, and kids

Posted by and on 22 Jul 2008 | Category: india, life

This is an account of my visit to Freedom Foundation, an organisation in Secunderabad, where HIV patients and drug addicts are taken care of.

Through talks with Jaya Singh, the project-coordinator, I could learn much about the situations surrounding the organisation and the patients. Freedom Foundation (FF) began in 1993 as a de-addiction centre. But, soon they realised that most of the addicted were HIV cases as well, thus, prompting them to turn their focus on HIV patients. Though Government had been running AIDS pevention and awarness programs from long before, FF was the first organisation that came ahead to take care of the existing patients.

Over there, I got to interact with 25 HIV infected orphans for a few days. Each time, I would wonder how long they are going to survive; how hard it must be for a 13 year old to live with the fact that she is HIV infected, and to know what it means.

We sang, played action songs and colored. A few of their colored greetings are displayed in this article. To wish them on the few birthdays they will be celebrating, check the dates and send your wishes to:

Community Care Centre & Diya Children Home
No: 21, Carriappa Road, Bolarum, Secunderabad -500 010




_____________________________red ribbon

The first lesson: HIV is not AIDS

Most of the problem revolving around HIV and AIDS related subjects is ignorance or rather, little information. Many of us confuse between HIV and AIDS. Even I had no clear idea until I met them.

HIV- Human Immunodeficiency Virus
This is just the name of the virus. If a person has contracted this virus, he is said to be HIV+ve. Over a period of years, this virus causes AIDS.

AIDS- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
This is a stage where the HIV has weakened the person’s immune system to such an extent that recovery is impossible. Diseases that might seem nothing to a normal child or an adult will become life threatening to a person with AIDS. Death is inevitable in such a case.

This means that a person with HIV can live a normal and healthy life for years before he/she develops AIDS. Unfortunately, the transition to AIDS is accelerated due to the prejudices and discrimination shown towards them.

Drawing by Akhila, a girl child affected by HIV  Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation

Drawing by Akhila




__________________________________red ribbon

The first step: by you, by the society
I can call it an eye opener. Mr. Jaya Singh told me that he was involved in AIDS prevention and awareness programs for a few years before he decided to join a place that truly involved in caring for such patients.

The mistake we make is either to discriminate them completely or show them so much of care and concern that they look at themselves as different and feel discriminated!

Though awareness campaigns educate people to a certain extent, it can never bring sensitivity into them. Jaya Singh told pretty blankly to me that even though he is aware of HIV and AIDS and has been handling these cases for few years now, if his own wife is HIV infected, it will naturally occur to him to treat her differently! Also, most of the patients get better not with medicines but social acceptance. Well, let’s say about 25% medicines can work, but the rest 75% is a contribution of the society, and his family and environment. That is why, while patients are treated, side by side, they try to counsel the family and get them to a mentality to accept the patient back into their lives as normal human beings. Many HIV patients turn into AIDS patients only because of the social disturbances caused to them.

Probably, the first thing that our country must do is to have all major hospitals establish departments to treat such patients rather than refer them to organizations like Freedom Foundation.

The other part of discrimination is shown in the fact that none of the hospitals accept HIV infected patients. At the time of child delivery, the women are checked for their blood and if they turn out HIV +ve, they are immediately shown the door and taken to organizations that deal with HIV patients. The number of HIV patients is so high that few organizations like these find it impossible to handle them all. Freedom Foundation has a 30 bed facility and 25 orphaned kids, all infected by HIV. They also treat 600-700 outpatients. However, they run on a meagre amount provided by the government which can support only a 10 bed facility.

What could be done is to train them in various fields of self employment and then encourage them by buying their products.

HIV patients have to be economically independent and they have to be shown ways for it by us. Networking a team of HIV patients to work in groups for self employment purposes will help them to build confidence and by and by feel as an accepted part of the society.

Educate all, beginning from the politicians and policy makers to school children.

Politicians so that they don’t make mockery of the HIV patients, Policy makers so that they work towards the best interest of such patients and school children so that they are taught from early age of the less-privileged in our society and help them to understand and accept them sooner.

Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation  Drawing by Harish, a boy child affected by HIV

Drawing by Harish




__________________________________________________________red ribbon

The first help: Selfless heart to understand, Money to care

If we have to live thinking someone else will take care of them, then, let us not read this section.

A surprising fact that came to my light was that the government had been running ‘prevention and awareness programs’ for years together now. They spend crores over these. While such programs can be effective to a certain extent, statistics still show that the number of HIV infected population is rising. At some point of time, these people will require care and attention. The government seems oblivious of this hard fact. In the case of Freedom Foundation, the government supports financially for a 10 bed facility, but they run a 30 bed facility with 700 outpatients and 25 orphaned kids to take care of. Even innumerable approaches couldn’t budge the government to realise that money for patient care is required as much as it is required for the awareness programs. Such organizations are then left at the mercy of corporate individuals. Even for the purpose of awareness programs, the trail of bureaucracy involved takes 6-7 months before the program is put into action.

I asked if any politician visited them so far. Till date only one politician visited them and that too, with the media trailing after him for publicity. He was not let in ‘coz he refused to let go off the media. They do not understand the requirement to keep the confidence of these patients by not publicizing them!

Drawing by Likitha, a boy child affected by HIV Drawing by Chandana, a girl child affected by HIV

Drawing by Likitha & Chandana

Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation  Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation

Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation  Drawing by Bikshapati, a boy child affected by HIV

Drawing by Bikshapati




___________________________________________red ribbon

The first touch: Kids of Freedom Foundation

The rooms were not painted and I felt they deserved a better facility. Jaya Singh assured that a company has volunteered to get the facility painted for them.

I wished to volunteer to teach the kids something for their summer vacations. The gladness in his face was evident. I walked towards the kids’ room with him. They were bright young ones with ages ranging from 4- 14 years. He said, as before, it is often the treatment of the society that pushes an HIV patient into developing AIDS sooner. Since children are not aware of their condition, they survive the best as they go about living their life normally. I was asked not to talk about their condition to them. But, when you look at them, they seem no different…just like any other….you forget that they could be the carriers of the worst viruses that human race has seen until now. I had nothing to worry.

HIV cannot spread by touch or sharing things or even dry kissing on cheeks. This virus is not airborne. The virus can pass on through internal body fluids like blood, vaginal fluids or breast milk. If one is careful not to come in contact or in exchange with these, you can lead a normal life with an HIV infected person.

Indian Flag, as drawn by a boy child affected by HIV  Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation

Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation   Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation




_______________________________red ribbon

The first true joy: I feel like God

Three days, for a few hours each, I encouraged them to color their thoughts and imagination on paper and songs. Sometimes, I used to wonder, how many of them would live long. We cannot cure them, but we can always make the days that they live a little better by being around these little ones with no one.

Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation  Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation

Drawing by Akhila, a girl child affected by HIV

Drawing by Akhila

Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation    Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation

Names and birthdays of the kids at Freedom Foundation

When I reach them and they wait to welcome me, I feel warmth in my heart. When it was time to part, they colored a chart full to gift Roxy and they hovered around me for so long that I had to promise them to return one day.

Drawing for Roxy, by the children at Freedom Foundation

A drawing for Roxy, by all the kids at Freedom Foundation

At the end of it, I felt elated, yet humble to be of service to these children.

Adoption: The Answers (iv)

Posted by and on 06 Feb 2007 | Category: adoption in india

Back in Hyderabad, I decided to take a share of what the adoption agency here has to tell me about the procedures. Quite interstingly, Andhra Pradesh (AP) is the only state that has banned any adoption through Voluntary Coordinating Agency (VCA) following a scam in 1999. The process has been in turn taken over by the Women Development and Child Welfare Development Centre.

At the VCA, I met the assistant director and two social workers. But more than meeting the staff there, what was more heartening was that I saw two parents who had come to take over their adopted kids. One was a baby of 3-5 months and the other was a girl child of 3 years.

In the previous articles, we dealt with some basic questions to be pondered and answered before we think of adoption. In this article, we lay out a step-wise procedure for a normal adoption, as told to me by the social worker I met.

1. Parents come to enquire about the adoption process.

a. All adoption is based on first come- first serve basis.
b. A single male cannot adopt a child
c. A single female can adopt a male or female child. However, her parents should be supportive of her desicion. Her income should be atleast Rs 5000 per month and should own some property.

2. Once the parents let know if they want to adopt a male or female child, they are told what the waiting period is.

a. In general, the waiting period for a male child is 3-4 years and a female child is 1.5 years. This is based on the availability of the children.
b. Many parents settle to adopt a female child in order to aviod long waiting periods for a male child.
c. Last year (2006), almost 85 female children and only 5-6 male children had been adopted.
d. Their claim is that almost 95% parents come asking for female child adoption.

3. The parents are given information about the adoption procedure and given a list of documents to be submitted to list them in the process for adoption.

4. After around 3 months of the document submission, the staff conduct a home visit to the applicant’s home.

a. They make sure the home environment is fine.
b. They speak with family-members and neighbours to make sure that all are fine with the adoption process. Even if one person is not ready for it (parents, in-laws etc…), they can be termed as a home not advised for adoption.
c. Even the surroundings are checked for schools and basic amenities to help the healthy growth of the adopted child.

5. Once everything is fine with the home visit, the parents are listed for adoption and put under seniority process (i.e., first come- first serve).

6. When the child is available for the parents, a letter is sent out to the adopting parents.

a. Only 2-3 children are shown to the parents for them to choose.
b. These children are selected carefully , to match the adopting parent’s face, features, complexion etc… This is to avoid any social problems that may arise later.
c. The children are already medically examined for fitness. However, if the parents will, they can conduct any further checkups on their own at their own expense. The child can be rejected if any medical problem is found and the parents will be given to have a second preference.
d. Children who are 5-6 years of age have a developed psychology, so their consent is taken before they are handed over.

7. After the parents are handed over the child, the legalisation process starts.

a. They are shown to good lawyers who will file a case of adoption in the court.
b. The assistant director will go and testify the handling over of the child.
c. The orphanage has nothing to do with the religion of the parents who are adopting. Everything to do with the Christian Wards Act is dealt in the court as it is a legal matter.

8. At the Registeration office, the parents need to file the details of the child, for a certificate that will serve as a Birth Certificate in future.

The parents can give a new Date of Birth for the child based on an approximate age determined by the orphanage. Usually the parents choose dates with favourable star signs, day, month, etc…

9. Subsequent followup visits are made to make sure everything is going fine.

a. 5-6 year olds take a longer time to adapt, especially the boys. If they are given a lot of care and tenderness, they will adapt better to the new parents and environment.
b. Many kids are readily agreeable for adoption.

A peek over NRI adoption…
As stated before, after adoptions through VCA has been handed over to the  Women Development and Child Welfare Development centre in AP, a preference order has been laid down. It being:

  1. Indian Parents
  2. NRI Parents
  3. 1 Indian and 1 foreign parent
  4. Foreigners

Only children who have been continuosly rejected by the Indian parents residing in India will be put up for adoption by the others. They are very often children with disabilities. Right now there are 29 such children in AP for such adoption. Their names and details are in the internet.

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