Shipra (name changed), a bright and spirited nine-year-old looks like any other child who loves to play with other children her age, draw and even preen like a model. She seems blissfully unaware of the stigma attached to millions affected or infected with AIDS/ HIV virus. Shipra and her brother, Vikas*, also diagnosed with the HIV virus, lost their parents when they were very young. They were raised by their old grandmother till she died as other relatives refused to look after them. After her death, the children, completely abandoned by all known to them, were brought to DESIRE Society in a dismal condition by an acquaintance who took pity and took an effort to find suitable shelter for them.
Shipra now lives in the organisation’s centre built for girls in Goregaon while Vikas lives in the boys’ centre in Vashi, the satellite town of Mumbai. Living with other children with similar life experiences in the warmth, care and love that the organisation provides has brought about a positive change in their innocent lives. Apart from fulfilment of all their basic needs, they also receive round-the-clock medical care and support they need owing to their condition. Like most of the children at both the centres, they even go to school and learn like others. In addition, various NGOs, volunteers and donors also pay regular visits to regale them with fun activities, educate them about important aspects related to health, sanitation and self-improvement and even delight them with occasional gifts besides giving donations to the centre.