“Amrita”, 27, is the daughter of a road layer from a family of five sisters. She married at age 13 to a man who drank and beat her. While he was in a rage one day, he struck at her and her infant son, who fell against a wall and died. She was 16.
In 2002, after giving birth to another son, Amrita began to feel very ill with fever, cough and weakness in her limbs. Both she and her husband were tested and found to be HIV positive, and the marriage ended. Amrita’s family took care of her at first, but after her mother died, her sisters sold the family’s house and gave her nothing. She and her two sons were forced to live on the footpaths of Pune and beg for a living. In early 2006, a welfare society brought her to Sahara, while her sons went to stay at a boarding school. Sahara provides funds for her to visit them, but thinking of them brings tears to her eyes.
“I prefer to stay here than any other place,” Amrita says of Sahara . “They picked me up from the street and gave me a new life.” Now that she is feeling better, Amrita also helps care for other clients in turn. “I feed them, bathe them, talk to them, and wash their clothes in the washing machine. I motivate them, saying this is not the end of your life. You have a long way to go and you will live longer with a positive mind.”