Mahdu (name changed), a 20-year-old woman living with HIV who is widowed with two children, is one of thousands of women that The Sanmitra Trust has helped to escape a life of poverty.
Why we care: Women with HIV are severely marginalized in India
How we're solving this: ARV therapy, job training and self help group
Madhu has found a reason to live. Through The Sanmitra Trust’s self help groups (SHGs), she has found a job and a support group, and she is now putting food on the table, sending her children to school, and receiving antiretroviral therapy. She is one of thousands of women that The Sanmitra Trust has helped to escape a life of poverty. Women living with HIV are severely marginalized in India – employers refuse to hire them in fear that other employees will not accept them and that they will miss days of work due to bouts of illness.
In 2009, 6.1 million people were living with HIV in Asia and the Pacific, and of those 2.4 million people were in India, accounting for about half (49%) of the HIV burden. The Sanmitra Trust is doing its part to provide emotional support and economic opportunities to women living with HIV that they never thought they could have. Through SHGs, comprised of 10 to 15 women and a trained peer-counselor, women have new aspirations for their future as they gain job skills training, begin start-up businesses, and connect with other women living with HIV/AIDS. This is also the first time that poor, people living with HIV can gain access to loans through a partnership that The Sanmitra Trust formed with the State Bank of India.
“In 2010, the Indian government awarded The Sanmitra Trust a best performance trophy for organizing marginalized women into self help groups.”
The Sanmitra Trust will extend services to another 500 women in the next six months through an intensive five-day training session to learn how to create solid business models, manage loans responsibly, and setup 50 small businesses. Women will also visit previous SHG groups who have successfully started businesses, attend wholesale markets to buy supplies, and meet with government officials to complete paperwork for their start-ups. SHG women will attend product and job fairs where they will meet women business entrepreneurs and potential business partners.
Celestine, a health clinic worker at The Sanmitra Trust, stands behind the SHG model and says, “I give women a new purpose and hope in life on a daily basis.” Join The Sanmitra Trust and people like Celestine to give women new choices and resources to realize their full potential within society.
UNAIDS 2010 Report on the Global AIDS epidemic. WHO Global Health Observatory Database (WHO/GHO). UN MDG Indicators database