Dil Prasad Adhikari, 55, lives with his son and daughter in Sanosree of Bardiya district in the mid-western region of Nepal.
He has been living with HIV for more than nine years. After having been infected in Delhi, he returned to his village hoping to find moral support and help from his friends and relatives. Instead he was greeted with discrimination and stigmatisation.
He said, “Every night, I used to watch my children’s face and cried before going to bed, not knowing whether I would get up the next morning or not.”
His health was deteriorating by the day because of social discrimination more than the AIDS virus. He spent his life in isolation and loneliness even in the crowded village. He could not find equal opportunities as there was no voice, advocacy and dignity for people living with HIV in his village. It was just because of lack of awareness among the people and lack of education on HIV and AIDS.
Since Grace Community Services started serving in his village, the lives of the HIV-positive people and local community have improved. We organised social awareness programmes, skill development training and seminars on lifestyle of the HIV positive. Attitudes towards HIV-positive people have changed and people like Dil Prasad have now found acceptance.
Dil Prasad has become an outreach field worker in Bardiya and has been speaking out for the HIV-infected people. He has been able to help people who faced discrimination like he once endured.
“On one hand there is no more discrimination in our community and on the other hand HIV people have been able to mobilise their resources and skills,” he said.
Please pray for unity among Christian leaders in Nepal and for GSC ministries to be effective in addressing national issues. – Bhibin Shakya, Grace Community Services/NCF Nepal