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When Lakshmi  first joined the programme she was very shy, very withdrawn, reluctant to even participate in the activities or talk to her peers.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. 





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UPDATES

  • The Samraksha team has benefited immensely from the 10 sessions on child development which was conducted by Dr. Mary George, a child development specialist from Singapore. The sessions were conducted on Zoom and Dr. Mary made great efforts to share the latest theories on child development with the team. The sessions were very useful for Samraksha to understand critical aspects of child development including emotional development and moral development and the role of relationships and environment in child's growth.
    The Samraksha team has benefited immensely from the 10 sessions on child development which was conducted by Dr. Mary George, a child development specialist from Singapore. The sessions were conducted on Zoom and Dr. Mary made great efforts to share the latest theories on child development with the team. The sessions were very useful for Samraksha to understand critical aspects of child development including emotional development and moral development and the role of relationships and environment in child's growth.
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    The Samraksha team has benefited immensely from the 10 sessions on child development which was conducted by Dr. Mary George, a child development specialist from Singapore. The sessions were conducted on Zoom and Dr. Mary made great efforts to share the latest theories on child development with the team. The sessions were very useful for Samraksha to understand critical aspects of child development including emotional development and moral development and the role of relationships and environment in child's growth.
    The Samraksha team has benefited immensely from the 10 sessions on child development which was conducted by Dr. Mary George, a child development specialist from Singapore. The sessions were conducted on Zoom and Dr. Mary made great efforts to share the latest theories on child development with the team. The sessions were very useful for Samraksha to understand critical aspects of child development including emotional development and moral development and the role of relationships and environment in child's growth.
  • People living with HIV have frequent opportunistic infections which require immediate medical and nursing support. Otherwise, it can lead to very serious health consequences. For example, oral candida, a common fungal infection among people living with HIV, if left untreated spreads rapidly to the aesophagus. It then becomes very difficult for the patients to swallow anything, and rapidly, this can lead to severe malnutrition. During the lockdown, it is difficult for them to access services, and given their already weak immune system, it is not even advised that they venture out to seek these services. Hence Samraksha has mobilized a home care nurse, who makes home visits to these people, and based on the assessment, holds tele-consultation with the doctors and prescribes appropriate treatment.
    x
    People living with HIV have frequent opportunistic infections which require immediate medical and nursing support. Otherwise, it can lead to very serious health consequences. For example, oral candida, a common fungal infection among people living with HIV, if left untreated spreads rapidly to the aesophagus. It then becomes very difficult for the patients to swallow anything, and rapidly, this can lead to severe malnutrition. During the lockdown, it is difficult for them to access services, and given their already weak immune system, it is not even advised that they venture out to seek these services. Hence Samraksha has mobilized a home care nurse, who makes home visits to these people, and based on the assessment, holds tele-consultation with the doctors and prescribes appropriate treatment.
  • Samraksha team is regularly in touch with the adolescent boys and girls we are working with in this time of COVID lockdown. We are linking them to support systems where needed, and providing a space for them to share their fears and anxieties when they are facing many health related and economic difficulties. We are also ensuring that people living with HIV get their medicines and nutrition, to ensure they are keeping healthy.
    x
    Samraksha team is regularly in touch with the adolescent boys and girls we are working with in this time of COVID lockdown. We are linking them to support systems where needed, and providing a space for them to share their fears and anxieties when they are facing many health related and economic difficulties. We are also ensuring that people living with HIV get their medicines and nutrition, to ensure they are keeping healthy.
  • Holiday Time !! Its been a exciting week in Samraksha, with the children getting together for various programmes. Vistar Rangashale facilitated a theatre workshop for some participants in the boys programme. Some of the older boys had an exposure trip to Bangalore and Mysore, where they could explore the history, culture and natural beauty of these places. The girls meanwhile had exciting exposure visits to ancient monuments in North Karnataka which are part of Karnataka's rich history, The younger girls are also planning to visit the famous zoo in Binkadkatti.
    x
    Holiday Time !! Its been a exciting week in Samraksha, with the children getting together for various programmes. Vistar Rangashale facilitated a theatre workshop for some participants in the boys programme. Some of the older boys had an exposure trip to Bangalore and Mysore, where they could explore the history, culture and natural beauty of these places. The girls meanwhile had exciting exposure visits to ancient monuments in North Karnataka which are part of Karnataka's rich history, The younger girls are also planning to visit the famous zoo in Binkadkatti.