In 2014, ServeNow was “besieged” by children who were HIV-positive. This was in the area where our main office is located in India. Unfortunately, children with HIV are stigmatized by much of society and rejected by family. As a result, thousands become orphans. They wander the streets, without a home, and without a family who cares for them. Living in poverty, many either starve to death or end up living in “cages”, like animals (we have rescued some children out of these very situations). Almost every week someone contacts the ServeNow office, pleading with us to take in a new child.
We felt that we had to do something. However, it is not easy to find a landlord who will allow HIV-positive children to live in his property, but through a miracle we found one! Tragically, the first girl we brought in died that very first day. Also, vandals burglarized our building. Clearly the devil didn’t want the light, love and hope of Jesus to penetrate the darkness and despair of these children’s lives. Yet, we didn’t give up, we persisted, and four children were brought in. By now, there are seven children living there!
The children are given proper care and healthy meals. It isn’t long before their skinny bodies begin to fill out! They also receive medication and education (which was a challenge in itself, as few schools accept HIV-positive children). They are also given plenty of love and tender care by our staff. One girl (whose 8th birthday we celebrated when I was there) said that her favorite thing about the home is “the food…and no one beats me here.”
It is interesting to note that it has been proven that when children are in special HIV hospitals, they frequently die very quickly. However, if they are in a “home” of this kind, where people really care for them and where medicine is provided, they often live into adulthood and become productive members of society. These seven kids are in fact thriving! Here is an update on their progress, given to us this week by our Indian national director:
“This past week was full of excitement for the children at the lighthouse center. They had a wonderful picnic at the zoo, and they were invited to a birthday party in the city (first time ever for these kids!). Also, some of my friends came to visit our children at the lighthouse center, and they spent time with them on Sunday. Slowly but surely our children are getting accustomed to their new lives of being integrated into society! Of course it is still an uphill task to convince people that it is perfectly safe for them to mix with children who have HIV. I am so glad that some of my friends are finally opening up and joining us in loving these precious boys and girls. I truly cherished the moments of seeing happiness and excitement on their faces!”
Here are also letters from two of our children who have lived with us for a year now. They have grown and matured in so many ways!
Did you know you can sponsor children like these in India/Uganda? (Sponsor a Child). Or, check out our “lighthouse center” page concerning this and other similar centers who shine a light and bring hope to children in need (Lighthouse Centers). From the slums of New Dehli and Kolkata, and soon in Kathmandu, Nepal; to 3,000 orphaned/disadvantaged children in Uganda; to refugee, orphaned and disabled children in Ukraine; you can make a real and eternal difference in the lives of some of the neediest children through ServeNow! Check out our summer camp page as well for disadvantaged kids in India/Ukraine: Summer Camps. Consider sponsoring a child to attend the camp (Sponsor Child for Camp) or come with us on a trip to serve them yourself: 2016 ServeNow Mission Trips.