Sunday, April 23, 2017


Leading the way

A community leader takes a brave step forward to lead his community towards greater love and acceptance for people living with HIV. And in the process, a young girl’s life is changed forever.
‘They had given up hope’
Vijay* is a community leader in a small village in the state of Rajasthan in India. The stigma of HIV was a reality that everyone in the community grappled with, but Vijay felt unequipped to respond to such need. They had given up hope of ever being able to help those affected by HIV.
One such family affected by discrimination was that of 10-year-old Bhavana* and her brother, whose parents died in quick succession from AIDS-related illnesses. Even close relatives abandoned the children due to the prevailing culture of stigma in the community.
The lack of proper care resulted in Bhavana falling ill. She was later diagnosed to be HIV positive. After knowing her status, her elder brother left her alone to fend for herself with no support. She was no longer allowed to attend school. Many in her community believed that Bhavana would die soon, so it was pointless to take any effort to treat her.
Reaching out
Vijay was given the opportunity to attend some community development training organised by Tearfund partner EFICOR (Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief), which enabled him to realise his responsibility as a leader towards marginalised and vulnerable individuals within his community.
‘I never thought that taking care of the larger community where I live was also part of my leadership role,’ Vijay explains. The training challenged his deeply-held beliefs, and consequently he reached out to Bhavana, so that she wouldn’t end up like her parents.
Vijay, along with other members of his community, took Bhavana to a medical centre for treatment. They were alongside her throughout the whole process, and also helped her to have a balanced diet after learning the importance of nutrition for people infected with HIV.
Furthermore, Vijay found Bhavana’s aunt and explained to her how a person infected with HIV can lead a healthy life. Thanks to the training he had received, he was able to break down the myths surrounding HIV and counselled her to take care of Bhavana well. Through the effort of Vijay, Bhavana is in school again and is slowly getting back to a leading a normal life with her aunt.
*Names changed to protect identity


  • Thank God for the work of EFICOR; that Vijay’s attitude was changed and that his community has been transformed as a result.
  • Pray that more leaders like Vijay will rise up in nations where there is still stigma attached to HIV.
  • Pray for Bhavana; that she will live a long, healthy and full life.

A note from...

'Vijay is among several community leaders who have realised that their leadership role involves taking care of their entire community. Community transformation trainings are leaving a lasting change in the lives of people in extreme poverty.'
Prince David
Country Representative, India

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