Supporting vulnerable adolescent boys in difficult situations : Some stories from the field

Accepting Oneself and Finding Confidence

Lakshmi is 14 years old, studying in seventh standard. She lives with her mother, older sister and younger brother after her fathers death. Apart from her older sister, all members in the family are HIV positive.

When Lakshmi  first joined the programme she was very shy, very withdrawn, reluctant to even participate in the activities or talk to her peers. During one to one interactions with the Samraksha team, she opened up about her feelings regarding her own health and her HIV status. She was disturbed because of her status and wondered why she was affected and why she had to take medicines all through her life. Often she wondered why she had acquired the infection while her older sister had not.

With more and more regular contact with the team and a chance to talk about her feelings, she realized that she need not be limited by her condition. She started looking at her HIV status as one aspect of her life which she had to manage. Gradually her participation in the sessions improved. She started taking an interest in activities, even helping other participants in some activities.

There were many gaps in her education because of her ill health, and she was even struggling with basic literacy in Kannada. When Samraksha offered to link her with a local volunteer who would help her with her reading and writing, she leapt to the opportunity. She has regularly been attending classes with the volunteer and has picked up on basic reading and writing. She is regularly reaching out to the Samraksha team sharing about her learnings, and wanting to learn more and more.


Finding a Family, Learning to Value Own Health

Nikita, a 12 year old girl acquired HIV at birth. She has lost both her parents, and is living with her grandmother. Nikita was very disturbed when she first joined Samraksha’s programmes. She was trying to cope with her parents’ loss. She constantly demanded attention and picked fights with others. She was also fixated on the idea that someone had harmed her parents. She was not paying attention to her own health, frequently skipping the anti-retroviral medicines which would control the HIV virus in the body.

Over the months, Nikita settled down more and more into her group. She found friendship, acceptance, a chance to be a leader. The group recognized her special talent to sing and gave her opportunities to lead them. With the older members of the group, she has built relationships – seeing them as her older sisters. She is welcomed into their own groups too.

With this acceptance, she started taking more and and more interest in her own health. She understood the importance of the anti-retroviral medicines and started taking them regularly. Even during difficult times like the lockdown, she took the initiative and traveled to the nearest ART centre and got the medicines for herself. 

samraksha inspirations

Read inspiring stories from our blog.