Sorry all..... for once again editing my story and changing the title......... but I had to include the second story....
Community Health Action network (CHAN) is an NGO that offers counselling, medical facilities, referrals, drop-in centre facility, for IDU's and FSW and a community Counseling component which comprises of a facilitation team that follows up the clients in their communities/localities and does community counseling and SALT visits. The facilitation team follows up the clients in their communities for SALT visits and also to care, support, reintegrate clients with their families and the community.
The facilitation team also conducts SALT visits to home and neighbourhood to listen and talk to people and build relationships with the people in the community from where the client comes, and also to other communities when invitations are received even where there are no clients .
A young women of 20 who had abscesses and wounds resulting from IDU came to the centre for medical treatment a million years ago....... After she visited the centre a few times, she told the counselor, that people in her community were spreading a rumour that she was HIV + and that she had this bad feeling that people were acting differently towards her and her family. She wanted to get tested for HIV and she tested +. The young women had a son of school going age and she tried to admit him to a kindergarten in her locality. Parents of the other children in the school threatened the principal that they would transfer their children to other schools if this child was given admission.
The facilitation team's SALT visits to homes and the neighbourhood had been going on since she first visited the centre so the team were aware of the rumour about her and also about the school issue. The team now felt that it was time for them to go beyond home visits and start a community conversation on HIV issues. Since the team had been visiting the community for a while they had built relationships with people and the community was aware of the care, support of clients and the discussions they had been having with people in the community. The key people already identified and visited were requested to arrange a community discussion on HIV issues which the team would facilitate.Community leaders then invited CHAN to come and talk about HIV. The Community organised the meet and invited all heads of NGO's, CBO's and Churches and IDU, HIV and other issues were discussed at this meet. This group then decided to have a wider participation and a series of discussions followed. The facilitating team then were invited by the community to give seminars workshops and support.
The son was admitted to the school and when the young lady passed a year later the the community was there to give support to her family.
A couple of years later another young lady from the same community/ locality,with two young children both girls who are today 12 and 9, came for testing to CHAN after her husband died of AIDS. She tested HIV+, her two young children however were not infected. CHAN supported her did home visits and community counseling in her neighbourhood. and also referred her to a lawyer for legal counsel for custody of her children which she has given to her sister in the event of her death When her husband died those people who were aware of cause of death were not supportive and discrimunated her, but since the cause of death was not widely known they continued to live in the locality. But two years later when she publicly disclosed her status she was discriminated and stigmatised and she had to move house two times when the landlords became aware of her status. But she held on ...........she is now an executive member of the Mizoram Positive Network and also the Positive Network of Mizoram and works as a Peer Educator at an NGO with a drop-in-centre for Positive people.
The situation in the past few years has totally changed she is now an active volunteer at the Counseling Centre where her services and experience are welcomed and she is an active member and preacher in her local Church. Her children too attend a school in the locality where they have been accepted by the teachers and students who are aware of their mothers status.
The community has now set up a counseling centre which offers support,counseling, referals,vocational activities and advocacy to IDU, PLWA and their families, this centre is managed by a board of directors comprising of a member each from all the NGO's, CBO's and Churches in the community. The day to day activities are looked after by a counsellor and volunteers and also the clients and their families. The building is owned by the community which mobilizes resources, and funds. The funds for the functioning of the centre is met by contributions collected from each and every house in the community.
The facilitation team stills pays visits and supports the community.
With patience and the belief that communities have capacities and strengths, a complete community response can open up by following a SALT visit with a stepwise involvement of everyone in the community and become an AIDS Competent Community.