The magic from the 'jaddoo ki jappi' that then union minister Sushma Swaraj gave to two HIV positive kids in Kerala ran out four months ago when their financial aid came to an end. It's, however, second time lucky for Bensy and Benson as HLL Lifecare has assured that the aid will be renewed.
Sallamma, 56, the grandmother of the two kids, told IANS, "After the incident not only did the society stop shunning them but also came the monthly assistance of Rs 5,000 for these kids. Now everything is over and despite several pleas nothing seems to be happening and my confidence is low because without money nothing will work."
Things changed for Bensy, 14, and her brother Benson, 12, when Swaraj hugged them at Press Club here in full public view in September 2003 and the company came forward with a five-year monthly financial aid plan. But the plan ran out four months ago.
The two children are HIV positive because their parents died from AIDS few years back. Tragedy struck them again when Sallamma's husband, a retired army personnel, also died.
"I am the only one left for these kids and I have asthma and my eye sight is pretty bad. With the assistance from HLL also stopping it is a nightmare to meet the monthly expenses of these kids. I have a widow's pension of Rs.2,800. Their uncle in Mumbai gave us some money and that has also run out. I don't know how to go on," said Sallamma.
The local village council chipped in and provided an assistance of Rs.30,000 some time back but that money is also dwindling.
"The girl is in Class 9 and the boy in Class 8. They have absolutely no problem in the school. Now since my health is poor we have got a home nurse, thanks to an NGO who are helping us. If we get the financial assistance of Rs.5,000, then along with my pension, we can pull it off," said Sallamma.
Every month the kids are taken for a detailed medical check up at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College and thanks to the assistance, they were having milk, eggs and meat besides a few fruits every month.
"The girl is 32 kg and the boy who does not eat much is 31 kg. Now we are all worried how we will go on," said Sallamma.
But HLL Chairman M. Ayyappan assured that they will resume the financial assistance.
"We have our own trust where we do charity and the financial assistance to the kids will begin immediately. We have already initiated action to this effect," said Ayyappan.