In 2009, Rajiv fell very ill and was bedridden. His wife and children were badly affected by his illness –as a result of which his two children were doing very badly in school. He had lost all his money and all his businesses had shut down. Everyone in his household was very unstable as there was no money coming in at all. His wife was unable to look after the house or the children and his son had to do the housework and was having a difficult time staying in school. The community had heard about Rajiv’s illness and they completely isolated and stigmatized the family.
In March 2014, at the age of 42, he was admitted to the Sahara Aalhad Care Home (under the Bhavishya Project funded by KCA), with a CD4 count of 34, an HB% of 6.6, weight was 55 Kg. In the Care Home with quality counseling, medical intervention, specialised diet, care and support, within three months his CD4 count rose to 312, his HB% 13, and his weight to 67 kg. He also became an active member of the PLHIV adult support group.
After his discharge he regularly came for his follow-up OPD appointments along with his family. His adherence levels have never fallen below 98%. And his Viral Load is now undetectable. When he went back to the village he immediately started working and people asked him “Which hospital have you been in?” and also asked him to take them there. When asked by neighbors about his illness, Rajiv and Madhuri reply “It’s our problem, and we are looking after ourselves” (You have no right to remark about it)
While he was admitted in the Care Home, Sahara referred him to the Saahasee Micro Enterprise scheme under the Bhavishya Project (funded by KCA), where he was interviewed, evaluated and selected for a loan. He was then given the necessary business skills with reference to loans (process etc). By the Saahasee business manager who also introduced to Saahasee as well as the services offered by the organization
With this loan from Saahasee and financial management counseling, he bought a cow, which he later sold at a profit, invested this money in sugarcane and vegetable fields, a motor-cycle repair shop, and a plant nursery. With these profits from these, he now has two buffaloes and a calf, a new scooter and a monthly income never below Rs 15,000/- per month. He is also a mentor and an example for many in the support group who have no hope. He has never been readmitted again in the Care Home and has kept a consistent weight of 77 kgs.
His daughter has just passed the 10th Std with a first class, and the son came first 12th Std. Both are now attending college.
Rajiv and Madhuri have also donated many plants from his nursery to the Sahara Care Home!
Many people from the community now come over to their house for a meal. Rajiv and Madhuri say “Sab ka muh bandh ho gaya” with a laugh and they both smile and say “we have got a new life now”