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Sponsors Urgently Needed as Gan Sabra Community Program Loses Funding
by Analiz Schremmer
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2018
n Gan Sabra, India, there are many HIV positive parents who spend what little energy they have laboring to give their children the best life possible.

These children have what orphan children don’t, parents who love them. These are families who are short on food, resources and medicine, but not on devotion or commitment to their children.

That is why Orphan Outreach believes in doing everything possible to keep these struggling families together

The Gan Sabra community program in Mizoram, India is a lifeline for children of HIV families.

Without the program, the children might become orphans, get separated from their families, or die prematurely from lack of medical care.

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“We are so used to being in a difficult situation and struggling to stay alive,” says the father of three of the children in the sponsorship program. “It’s a challenge, but it doesn’t put me down or discourage me. What worries me is that if my wife and I die, who will be there taking care of our kids. Our kids are very small and not healthy and with us being sick every now and then, it’s a challenge for us.”

The community program helps this family with nutritional support, providing eggs, milk, and other basic food, as well as medical assistance, which helps keep the parents as strong and healthy as possible. One of the most valuable things it has provided them with is baby formula, which allowed them to feed their young children without contaminating them with HIV through their mother’s milk.

Orphan Outreach President Mike Douris says that the goal of the program is to keep children’s families intact.

“When parents have HIV, they are often sick and the stigma of HIV in India can keep them from finding work. The program makes sure that they and their children have access to basic food and medical care.”

Eighty-six families benefit from the community program in Gan Sabra, but at the end of March, 60 will lose funding.

“A grant was covering expenses for those 60, so we are trying to get them sponsorship so they can continue receiving services,” Douris says. “They need this program to survive.

Umashankar Shankardas, Director of India, says Gan Sabra is equipped with the necessary trained staff and infrastructure, the only thing missing is the sponsorships.

“When we sponsor a child, we offer their family a support system,” Shankardas says. “We have field staff who make regular visits to deliver basic supplies such as food, medicine, baby formula and school supplies for the kids. They ensure that they have transportation to the doctor and that the children are going to school.”

Douris says that it can be challenging to find sponsor for the community program because the children who benefit are not technically orphans.

“But the need is huge,” he says. “One couple we visited was in tears because the food and assistance that they receive through their sponsors keeps them from desperate poverty. They live in one room with their young children and the mom and dad can go weeks without being able to work because they are so sick. We are literally a lifeline for them.”

For $36 a month, a child who is affected by HIV will continue to receive the help that they desperately need. Click here to sponsor a child.


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