The Meerut Man Who Has Adopted 12 Children, All HIV+

A man in Meerut has adopted 12 boys, all of them HIV positive. He is leaving no stone unturned in giving them the happy childhood they deserve, devoid of discrimination. Read more to know how he does it and what made him do so.

At a time when AIDS awareness campaigns are rampant in our country, many HIV affected kids still stay deserted. These kids are abandoned by their relatives after the death of their parents, who too had been HIV positive.

12 such boys aged between the ages of 7 and 17, have been blessed to have found a father in Ajay Sharma of Meerut.

Diya decoration by painting team of Satyakam Sewa Ashram family for Deepavali.

Diya decoration by painting team of Satyakam Sewa Ashram family for Deepavali.

Ajay Sharma was working at Government Inter College, Phalawada. In 2004, he suffered a brain hemorrhage and was in coma for 15 days. After recovering from his illness, he felt he had been given a new lease of life and decided to lead this new phase dedicating himself selflessly to society.

In 2008, he got to know about an HIV positive orphan boy whose relatives killed him, packed his body in a suitcase and abandoned it on a train.

This heart wrenching incident instilled in Ajay a passion to work for such children. He quit his job and started teaching the slum children instead. In 2008, Sharma came across an HIV positive boy abandoned by his family who was on the verge of collapsing. Sharma took him to several hospitals but none was ready to admit him.

Finally, Sharma brought the boy home and took good care of him. The boy revived and got a home too. Ajay Sharma then founded the Satyakam Manav Seva Samiti (SMSS) in 2008 in Ganganagar locality of Meerut where such deserted boys are given a new home.

Aashish, aged 12, was brought to Satyakam one year back when he was showing symptoms of Tuberculosis, Low CD4 and others which an HIV positive individual shows. Today, as a result of the care he has received at SMSS, he attends school regularly and has the highest attendance in his class.

When you ring the door bell, a boy with a beaming face will come and greet you. He is one of the 12 such inhabitants of SMSS.

Ajay Sharma with his sons.

Ajay Sharma with his sons.

They are just as ‘normal’ as any of us. Mr. Ajay Sharma takes care of every boy just like a father and his wife Babita has been a continuous support to him. He looks after all their needs, from education and health care to recreation and toys.

The drive to this level has not been easy for Sharma. Initially, no one was ready to rent him a house. After great difficulties, when he finally got a house, the people in the locality posed several objections. They thought that such children would spread AIDS in the society and wanted them to leave the area. This also shows that people are still not fully aware of the fact that AIDS is not a communicable disease.

They didn’t allow their children to play with these boys. When Sharma approached schools for the admission of his sons, people objected again and didn’t want these boys to study with their children. The government too hasn’t offered any help to him.

But gradually, with the continuous efforts of Sharma, there has been a change in the attitude of the people towards him and his special family. People in the locality now happily celebrate birthdays with these children. Schools too are coming forward and offering admission to these boys.

Birthday celebration at SMSS.

Birthday celebration at SMSS.

Doctors in the neighborhood take care of the medical needs of these boys. Dr. Rajiv Prakash and Dr. Amit Pathak of the same locality opine that not only are these children very enthusiastic, they are also helping in eradicating the several prevalent myths about AIDS.

Neema Jain, a teacher of Adarsh Vidya Mandir, teaches them English, Hindi and Maths and feels that these kids are very bright too. Lokesh Sharma, who is a government employee, has been training these boys in yoga for their physical and mental well-being. Several organizations are also now extending help to SMSS.

The kids too have been given several responsibilities which also gives them a sense of attachment to the place. While one boy is responsible for welcoming the guests, another is responsible for keeping shoes in the rack.

Sadly, the fear of death and an abominable lull sometimes surrounds this otherwise chirpy home.

“One of the boys is in the second stage of the disease,” a teary eyed Ajay Sharma says.

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Ajay Sharma’s spirit is undying. He is optimistic and hopes to increase his family. He wants to buy a bigger house where he can give shelter to 50 such children.

You too can help in this noble cause by making a donation, sponsoring a child or by simply volunteering for SMSS. For more details, visit their website. You can also visit their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.

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About the Author: Although a Ph.D. student at IIT Kanpur currently, education and women development related issues are dearer to Shruti Mehrotra. Trained in Kathak, Bharatnatyam and Karate, she is a voracious reader & her hobbies include writing, art skills & playing badminton & table tennis. Working for TBI helps her pursue her love for reading and writing and also coming across the challenges people are facing daily and their solutions. Follow her blog: shrutiwrites.blogspot.in or twitter: @mshruti_iitk

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