Gan Sabra, a special home for HIV/AIDS orphans in Mizoram

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Aizwal, Aug.23 (ANI): Located at Zonuam village on the outskirts of the Mizoram's capital Aizawl, 'Gan Sabra' is a special home for orphans affected with HIV or AIDS.

"That they may have life, life in its fullness", is the motto of 'Gan Sabra', the first and only transitional children's home in Mizoram. It spreads joy in the lives of children and motivates them to lead their lives to the fullest. an Sabra aims to provide a special home where children affected with HIV/AIDS can have a good time away from social stigmas.

Lucy Maruati, who is the moving force behind the home, believes that there is life beyond HIV-AIDS and every child has a right to cherish childhood in a world full of love.

"'Gan Sabra' means 'Garden of Cactus' in Hebrew. The cactus survives in the desert and so also our children who are infected and affected with HIV/AIDS. For them it is a bit like desert because of the discrimination, stigma and different problems that they face. But they will survive. We are trying to provide them a family atmosphere in this home. That is what they need," said Lucy Maruati, the founder of Gan Sabra.

There are presently 33 children at the home, the youngest of them is just one-and-a-half-year-old and the senior-most being of 16 years of age.

Lucy Maruati decided to open such a home after she adopted a girl child left abandoned by her parents.

Since its inception in 2006, 'Gan Sabra' has been helping the HIV / AIDS infected children to lead a normal life through education, healthcare and most of all love.

Today most of the children attend schools and get excellent results. Initially they encountered problems at schools due to opposition of guardians. However, with the help of various counselling programmes, parents started to accept the HIV positive children.

"I lost my parents due to AIDS and I am also HIV positive. Now I live here and this is my family. I go to school and love studying," sai Puii (name changed), one of the AIDS patients.

Besides taking care of these children, the Gan Sabra also undertakes advocacy and arranges awareness workshops and campaigns on prevention of AIDS on a regular basis. By Pinaki Das (ANI)

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