Now ICHHA is going to school


Thoibi (name changed) is a 14 year old girl, living in Imphal of Manipur. She is the daughter of Mr.Tondon and (L)Sunita Devi of Nouremthong. Her father was an IDU (injecting drug user) and alcoholic. Right from the early days Thoibi’s father was not a responsible husband and a father and did not wanted to work and earn money to support his own family, what every money he use to get from small time job, he use to spends it on drugs and alcohol. He was only concern of his daily dose of alcohol and drugs. Thus Sunita (Thoibi’s mother) suffers a lot in trying to maintain and support the family. Sunita sold vegetables and sometimes works as a domestic helper. Sunita’s husband (Tondon) keeps on harassing her every day in one way or other. Even during the time Thoibi was born, Sunita was abused frequently mentally and physically, few years pass by and Sunita started to get sick very frequently with diarrhea, fever, and skin diseases. However due to her poverty and the irresponsible nature of her husband she did not get proper medical treatment from any doctor. Every time when she is sick she only uses to buy some medicine from the local chemist and takes it to get some relief. As the economic condition of the family worsen her health too became worse. She could no longer go out and work to earn money for her family. In the mean time Alley was not given proper food and nutrition therefore she was physically thin and weak.
As days passed by Sunita’s health deteriorated further and at the last moment she was taken to the hospital (RIMS) for treatment. There it was found that she was suffering from Crypto/Meningitis (a disease which occurs when the HIV virus affects our brain). The doctors in the hospital were quite upset for bringing her to the hospital in the very last stage of her life. The Doctors said that if she had been given treatment on time, she could have been better and could survive for a longer period of time, and now as it is too late and it will be very difficult to save her. Eventually her health deteriorated very fast and she died in the month of August 2006.
After the death of Sunita, her husband Hemanta too became weak and sick. He was then taken to RIMS hospital for treatment. On the advice of the doctor in the hospital his blood was tested and it was found to be HIV positive. During that time he blames that the disease was transmitted to him from his late wife. He was enrolled for ART but did not care to take ART on time and in a proper manner and did not quit his drinking habit.
In the mean time there was no one to take care for Thoibi, her uncle and aunt were the only person to look after her. She was not treated properly and become a neglected child. She was neglected in every field including her health, food, nutrition and most importantly her education.
 As time pass by Thoibi too began to feel sick quite frequently from skin infection, diarrhorea and pneumonia. During that moment Thoibi’s aunty (Tombi Devi) began to feel that Thoibi might also be infected by HIV/AIDS and thus they contacted Wide Angle (CRY supported project) through the convener of Nouremthong area. She came at Wide Angle’s office and shared Thoibi’s story. After hearing the history of the family we suggest her to bring Thoibi for a health check up by our clinic doctor. After her health check up at Wide Angle OPD centre Alley was given some OI medicines and further referred her to ICTC at RIMS, her blood test was done and the result confirmed her HIV positive. Her CD4 count was also found to be low thus the doctors at RIMS advised her to enroll for ART and start taking it, after starting ART her condition improved to some extent. By this time Thoibi had become a school dropout due to her poor health condition, neglect and nonpayment of her school fees. Her caregivers including her own father did not take any interest in her education and other needs. She is made to do all the household work and takes care of her aunt’s small children. The care Thoibi got from her aunty was only for name sack. She hardly gets the much needed nutrition and proper healthcare, her family members particularly her aunty is not cooperating and she does not want anyone from any NGO to come and meet Thoibi which had made it difficult to monitor her ART adherence and health related problems.
It was during a children program at Tera Child center, WA staffs come to know that Thoibi was not going to school anymore. With much effort they manage to meet Thoibi’s caregiver (uncle) and convince him to send the child to a nearby school, her uncle requested WA team members to kindly help him arrange for her admission, by this time all the schools have started regular classes; however team talk to the headmistress of a school and share Thoibi’s present condition, the school agreed to   admitted her, WA team also arranged books for her by collecting old books from other children. Thoibi was very happy when she was admitted to the school again; she told the WA team members that she would go to school daily. Thoibi was happy to mingle and play with her friends whether at school or during our children’s program.
 A very unfortunate thing for Thoibi is that till now her own father never cares about her education, health, nutrition and other things, everyday he goes out to do some work and return in the evening after getting drunk and he would start quarrelling with other family members including the present caregiver, resulting to further ill-treatment of Thoibi by her aunty due to the behavior of her father.
Even today Thoibi’s health status is not good due to many factors and we don’t know for how long she will be able to go to school without any physical, mental, emotional and psychological problems.