Igniting Ideas For impact

Embarking on a transformative journey through six chapters, we traverse India's landscape, exploring pioneering startups and their revolutionary...

10 months

Why I Am Proud to Be the ‘Appa’ of 42 Children Living With HIV

Chennai-based Solomon Raj runs the Shelter Trust, where he cares for children living with HIV who have been abandoned by their relatives.

Why I Am Proud to Be the ‘Appa’ of 42 Children Living With HIV

In 2005, Solomon Raj was contacted by Noori, a trans woman from Tamil Nadu, about an HIV positive child who had lost his mother. The child was only six years old at the time and had lost his entire family to the deadly virus.

For years prior, Solomon and his wife Felvia Shanthi, a Chennai-based couple, had been thinking of adopting a child before they had their own. So when they received Noori’s call, he knew what he had to do. He took in the six-year-old as his own.

Now, 17 years later, Solomon is ‘appa’ to 42 children living with HIV, who have been left behind or abandoned.

To formally care for the children, the couple runs the Shelter Trust, where they employ women living with HIV to work as on-call doctors, counsellors, accountants, and psychologists.

“My family and friends would often ask me, ‘Why are you doing this? These kids eat in the same place, play with your biological kids. Aren’t you scared for their safety?’ I cut off ties with most of them. I told them, ‘If you do not have anything good to say, don’t say anything bad either. Don’t discourage me or discriminate against my children,’” says the proud appa.

Watch how Solomon is giving abandoned children a safe haven:

If you found our stories insightful, informative, or even just enjoyable, we invite you to consider making a voluntary payment to support the work we do at The Better India. Your contribution helps us continue producing quality content that educates, inspires, and drives positive change.

Choose one of the payment options below for your contribution-

By paying for the stories you value, you directly contribute to sustaining our efforts focused on making a difference in the world. Together, let’s ensure that impactful stories continue to be told and shared, enriching lives and communities alike.

Thank you for your support. Here are some frequently asked questions you might find helpful to know why you are contributing?

Support the biggest positivity movement section image
Support the biggest positivity movement section image

This story made me

  • feel inspired icon
  • more aware icon
  • better informative icon
  • do something icon

Tell Us More



See All