Gaining recognition and effectively reducing S&D

 A sharing by Thamizh, Nandhni and Mohana of Sumangali AIDS Thaduppu Sangam, Rasipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

 

“We provide a lot of services for the community members and for the public through our MSM CBO. We create awareness about HIV, STIs and condom use among our community members. Earlier, if people saw us in public places they would mock at us and ridicule us. They looked at us as untouchables. They would not sit next to us in the bus”.

 Sumangali AIDS Thaduppu Sangam a CBO of MSM community members in Rasipuram, Tamil Nadu, India, started with SIAAP’s support. We are about 25 members in (CBO). We introduce ourselves to the public as MSM. After the sangam started, we have been distributing condoms among the public and creating awareness about HIV, condoms, safe sex as well as arranging for medicines. Since we do all this, people’s view about us as ‘objects of sex’ has changed. They approach us and talk to us.

 A person who earlier ridiculed us was affected by STIs. We took him to the hospital for treatment and got him the medicines. Since then, he maintains a good relationship with us. Grocery stores offer groceries to us at discounted rates when we cook food for the sangam members. Those who would not even sit near us earlier, ask us to buy the first ticket so that, we would bring them luck today. Similarly our community members who dress in Sarees are asked to be the first customer in their shops so that, their sales go up that day. We were invited by a person (Rowdy) for a wedding and our entire sangam attended the function. Our video was taken and we were asked to bless the couple.

 

 

 

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Comment by darinji@gmail.com on April 20, 2011 at 2:52pm

Dear Rituu,

Thank you for keeping in sharing inspirational stories and being warrior for change agent.

Comment by darinji@gmail.com on April 20, 2011 at 2:50pm

Dear Prabakar,

 

Thank you for sharing practical, cost effective but challenging intervention to fight against stigama and discrimination. I salute the courage of woman for taking risk to challenge the community. Indeed she deserved to be treated as dignified human being in the community. After all we all are created in the image of God. So each human being is a image of God. So human being should not be stigmatized or discriminated.

I wish you all the best be couragious to share, mobilize and challenge for creating equitabel socieity.

Darinji,

Nepal

Comment by Dr. E. Mohamed Rafique on April 17, 2011 at 4:13pm

Hi Rituu, and Prabakar,

Experiences around the world has shown that Denial, Stigma, and Discrimination is the last vestige that often persistently remains in the society, and also in the highest strata, long after the strongest response to HIV has been elicited from a given community. Seen through this lens, the ahievements of Sumangali AIDS Thaduppu Sangam in getting such a good participation from other community members must be well appreciated.

Looking forward to hear more success stories like this one.

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on April 17, 2011 at 9:15am

Hi Prabakar,

 

Thanks for this blog. Would you like to elaborate more on how and why the perception of people changed towards MSM group? SIAAP has a chock full of stories and I am happy to see so many blogs from SIAAP friends.

 

Warm regards,

Rituu

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