Couple parenting orphanded HIV children

Beed (Maharastra): A charitable trust run by a couple in Beed district of Maharashtra, for the welfare of HIV positive children, has today become home to more than 30 orphaned kids, tending to their basic needs besides providing them with proper medical care since four years.

Infant India, set up in 2007, by Datta and Sandhya Bargaje, on a hillock near the Bendusura Dam in an area spread over two acres, the Trust runs on funds contributed by locals, social workers, doctors, merchants and good samaritans who intend to transform the lives of these infected children.

"I and my wife Sandhya were inspired by Baba Amte and Dr Prakash`s Lokbiradari project in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra and decided to open this trust," Datta, who turned to social service giving up his job as a lab technician in Bhamragad tehsil in the naxal-hit district, told PTI today on World Aids Day.

Sandhya too, who was a professor at Raje Vishveshawarrao College at Gadchiroli left her job to join her husband. "We brought the two acre land from our savings of Rs 10 lakh to help HIV-affected children across Maharashtra who were orphaned after the death of their parents, afflicted by the disease," they said.

Today, there are 36 HIV/AIDS affected children at Infant India. Everyday at 5 AM, they are made to do Yoga excercises to increase their immunity levels. Also, ayurvedic medicines are given to them followed by timely breakfast and meals, they said. The children also undergo CD 4 tests from time to time at ART centre of Ambajogai tehsil here, the Bargajes said.

Prominent people and activists assist us on many fronts by providing clothes, fruits, food grains and medicines. "Our main aim is provide an healthy atmosphere, complete with love and care to these children so that they feel lonely and homeless," they said. The couple also organises several campaigns to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS to bring these children to mainstream.